Six-year sentence for setting fire to Dublin head shop

Davin Flynn caused €1m of damage in arson attack

The Nirvana head shop on Capel Street, Dublin. Photograph: William Murphy

The Nirvana head shop on Capel Street, Dublin. Photograph: William Murphy


A Dublin father-of-three set fire to a head shop because of a grudge he held over the drug related death of his brother, a court has heard.

Davin Flynn (42) was seen on CCTV with another man before the massive blaze which caused €1 million damage, forced local residents to evacuate and closed a busy city centre street for days.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a six-year jail term and commented that Flynn’s plan to damage the head shop “worked only too well”.

Flynn, of York Street, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson at the Nirvana head shop, Capel Street on February 12th, 2010. He has 65 previous convictions, including robbery, criminal damage, burglary and thefts.

Det Garda Eoin Colbert said it took five units of the Dublin Fire Brigade to control the flames, which also destroyed a neighbouring head shop and an adult store. Just one of the three buildings was insured and the location is now a vacant plot.

Judge Nolan said it seemed Flynn bore “a grudge” against the head shop which might have sold drugs to his brother, who died in 2010.

Det Gda Colbert told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, an alarm company notified the Nirvana business owner shortly after the fire started. Firefighters recovered €484,000 of the owner’s cash from a safe at the neighbouring head shop, Souvenir Seeds Store.

Det Gda Colbert told Mr Cooney this premises sold the now illegal head shop drug “snow blow” from a hatch up until 4am or 5am.

The detective said good quality CCTV footage showed Flynn, who was carrying boltcutters, go through a side gate to the back of the Nirvana premises.

Det Gda Colbert agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that his client decided to overcome his heroin problem when he saw what the drug was doing to his brother.

He agreed that Flynn, a “gifted footballer” who spent most of his young adult life in jail, was deemed at low risk of re-offending from a psychologist’s report.

Judge Nolan acknowledged that Flynn had reformed and was now drug-free, but could not ignore the seriousness of the offence.

The judge said he would give credit to Flynn for any time he has spent in custody on the matter, here or in another jurisdiction.