Fireman in Kerry alleged to have started gorse fire

Aim was to secure payment for being called out to extinguish fire, court told

Man before Killorglin District Court is accused of starting gorseland fire so that he would be paid after being called upon to help put it out.

Man before Killorglin District Court is accused of starting gorseland fire so that he would be paid after being called upon to help put it out.

 

A fireman with Kerry County Council lit a fire in a bog with the intention he would be one of the those called to put it out, a court has been told.

The 36-year-old lit the gorseland so the fire brigade would have to be called out and he would get paid, it was alleged at Killorglin District Court. The burnt land belonged to the council, according to the charge.

The court, sitting in Cahersiveen, Thursday, heard there were two charges involved in the case against David Ahern of St James Gardens, Killorglin, which was before the court for the first time.

Mr Ahern is charged that on April 13, 2020, at Cromane Upper, Killorglin, he committed arson in that he damaged by fire property, namely gorseland.

The gorseland belonged to Kerry County Council and the public at large and the damage was with intent to defraud, according to the alleged offence which is contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act, 1991.

Mr Ahern is also charged that on the date and location in question he dishonestly, by deception, induced the fire service department of Kerry County Council to pay him the sum of Euro 151.04 for attending a fire at Cromane Upper, Kilorglin to make a gain for himself contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud) Act, 2001.

Sgt Miriam Mulhall Nolan told Judge David Waters the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed summary disposal, that is it could be dealt with in the District Court, and jurisdiction was to be decided.

In response to questions from Judge Waters, Sgt Mulhall Nolan confirmed it was being alleged the accused set the fire for the purposes of being called out.

“The purpose of the fire was to get payment for the call out,” said the sergeant who told the judge 1.5 acres of land had been damaged by the fire.

Judge Waters accepted jurisdiction and granted disclosure of documents to the defendant’s solicitor Brendan Ahern.

Mr Ahern said he would be applying for legal aid in due course as his client was on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The judge adjourned the matter to July 8th next.