21-year-old arsonists started fires that caused €13,000 worth of damage

A 21-year-old man offered no explanation for why he committed two acts of arson, which caused €13,000 worth of damage.

Richard O'Keeffe from Rochestown in Taghmon came to the attention of gardaí investigating a couple of fires in the Duncormick area last year.

On the first occasion the fire brigade was called on March 29 to a concrete shed belonging to Mary Newsome which was 12 feet away from a private dwelling.

The bill for this escapade came to €12,000 and four days later the firefighters attended a blaze at a derelict mobile home on an out-farm in the same townland.

The mobile home belonged to a man called Conroy from Mulgannon and a value of €1,000 was put on it.

The court heard that O'Keeffe had since deferred finishing a business course at the Wexford campus of Carlow IT and had accumulated money to pay the injured parties.

He had part-time employment so he had raised €1,000 to pay Conroy in full and he offered €8,000 to Ms Newsome.

Solicitor Tim Cummings said his client did not know why he had set the two fires.

O'Keeffe came from a very respectable family, suggested Mr Cummings, and he attended court with his father and grandfather.

His mother was too distressed to attend, Judge John Cheatle was informed.

'He should go back to college,' suggested the judge, putting the defendant under probation supervision for 12 months for what he described as random acts of vandalism.

Wexford People