Man jailed for setting fire to farmers' barns acted under duress from drug dealer
A man jailed for four and a half years for burning hay barns in Co Limerick told his psychiatrist he carried out the arson attacks after coming under pressure from a drug dealer he owed €15,000.
John Ryan had earlier told gardai he was "motivated by revenge" after reading an article in a Sunday newspaper which carried a story about a suspicious fire at a stables in which Mr Ryan said, led to one of his horses dying.
However, judge Tom O'Donnell said a psychiatric report on Ryan noted he was acting out of duress from someone he was in fear of.
Ryan, (23), of Carraig Beg, Doon, Co Limerick, pleaded guilty to three counts of arson on dates last year, causing €150,000 worth of damage.
Ryan was arrested after the armed garda Regional Support Unit (RSU) were deployed to Pallasgreen, Doon and Oola, following a spate of arson attacks on farmers’ lands.
Ryan, who the circuit court heard was "easily led", admitted setting fire to a barn at Clonlusk, Doon, on a date between September 27 and 28, 2015. Two bullocks died in the fire which caused €50,000 in damage.
Ryan admitted arson on October 5, 2015, at a barn, at Toomaline, Doon. The barn containing 250 bales of hay and straw was destroyed at a cost of €50,000. Ryan also pleaded guilty to arson on October 6, 2015, at a hay barn in Oola, Co Limerick, causing another €50,000 in damage.
Judge O'Donnell, taking into account the losses incurred to the farmers, who were completely innocent parties, and whom some were not insured, and noting the cruelty shown by Ryan to the animals involved, jailed him for six years with the last 18 months suspended, backdating the sentence to October 15, 2015.