Man jailed for setting fire to Orange Hall after having 15 drinks

Damien Murray started blaze in Convoy, Co Donegal, which caused €358,000 of damage

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that almost €360,000 of damage was caused in a fire at Convoy Thiepval Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge on October 3rd, 2014.

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that almost €360,000 of damage was caused in a fire at Convoy Thiepval Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge on October 3rd, 2014.

 

A man who had 15 drinks before setting fire to an Orange Hall in Co Donegal has been jailed for three years.

Damien Murray, of Strabane, Co Tyrone, and Eamonn McGill, of Machmeendstown, Convoy, were sentenced at Letterkenny Circuit Court on Tuesday over the incident at Convoy Thiepval Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge on October 3rd, 2014.

The building was gutted and a number of artefacts were destroyed by the blaze, which caused €358,587 in damage. The front door of Convoy Presbyterian Church was also kicked in on the same night.

Murray (36) and McGill (34) denied any involvement in the incidents at first but Murray eventually admitted to using a lighter to start the fire.

McGill was charged with causing criminal damage to the door of the church. He initially denied being involved but gardaí then matched an Adidas trainer taken from McGill’s partner’s house to a footprint on the door of the church.

Fearful

In a victim impact statement, members of the local Presbyterian Church said they were left fearful, hurt and angered by the attack. The hall has since been fully refurbished.

John Smith, representing Murray, said his client suffered from alcohol addiction and was very apologetic to the Presbyterian community.

Peter Nolan, representing McGill, said his client had nothing to do with the arson and was a hard working father of two.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabhain sentenced McGill to two years in prison but suspended the term for two years. He also ordered him to pay €2,000 to the Donegal Hospice, a charity nominated by members of the Presbyterian community in lieu of the damage caused to the church door.

The judge said Murray, fuelled by 15 drinks, was the sole perpetrator of the arson attack. He sentenced him to two years in prison and three suspended.