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Friday 15 December 2017

Gardai question four over spate of arson attacks

Stephen Maguire

Gardai were questioning four young men last night after a spate of arson attacks.

The men, aged between 17 and 24, were arrested after 11 different fires were started in the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal, causing tens of thousands of euro in damage in recent weeks, authorities said

The properties damaged or destroyed included a school, a health centre, three houses, a caravan and a number of farm sheds -- mostly around Buncrana. Cars, tractors and a factory were also torched during the attacks, which took place under cover of darkness.

A fifth, aged 17, who was arrested on Wednesday, has been released.

Two of the other four arrested are being questioned at Letterkenny garda station while the remaining two are being interviewed at Buncrana garda station.

Garda Superintendent Kevin English confirmed extra manpower had been drafted in to assist in their investigation.

The attacks have caused panic across the region especially as no motive had been found for what seemed like random fires.

"Since the start of July we have 11 incidents and we drafted in extra personnel and with the public's cooperation we arrested five people," he said.

One woman, whose children became caught up in the arson attacks, had pleaded with those responsible to stop before someone was killed.

Mother-of-three Julie Cooke of Hilltown, Buncrana, revealed how her children aged eight, five and one had to be woken from their beds at 3.30am on Monday after a house at the back of her own was set alight.

"This is going to have to stop before someone is killed," she said.

Acting chief Fire Officer Bobby McMenamin said the fires were pushing his officers to the limit.

Irish Independent

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