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Man who set fire to local GAA club avoids jail term

A MAN who set fire to his local GAA club because he was refused cigarettes at the bar has been given a suspended sentence of three years.

Christopher Ward (20) started the fire in a dressing room after flicking a lit cigarette into a rag.

He then told bar staff a fire had been started and had spread to a corridor.

Garda Michael O’Reilly told Ms Melanie Greally BL, prosecuting, that Ward and a large crowd of family and friends had been drinking at the club during an All Ireland final.

Ward was arrested days later and told gardai he was very drunk on the night and couldn’t remember much about it. He said that he may have started the fire because he was refused cigarettes at the bar but said he couldn’t be sure.

Ward of Morgan Place, Navan Road, Dublin pleaded guilty to criminal damage of St Brigid’s GAA Club, also Navan Road, on August 28, 2011.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the fire caused around €30,000 in damages which was covered by insurance.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended a jail sentence of three years on Ward, who has one previous conviction for drink driving in 2009.