Arsonist who set fire to three cars avoids jail

Sonya McLean

A MAN who caused "mayhem in Balbriggan" by setting fire to three cars has avoided a jail term after a judge remanded him in custody pending sentence to give him a "taste of prison".

Niall Quirke (22) had his bail revoked earlier this month by Judge Martin Nolan after he heard the evidence.

The judge described Quirke's crime as causing "mayhem in Balbriggan" and told him that he hopes "the taste of prison was enough to set you straight".

Judge Nolan said he had hopes for Quirke's rehabilitation and was going to give him a chance. He sentenced him to three years which he suspended in full on strict conditions.

Quirke, of Teach Mhuire, Lower Gardiner Street, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to criminal damage to three cars and a house on Hampton Street in Balbriggan and theft on October 2, 2010.

Garda Wayne Butler said that a man woke at 4am when he heard glass breaking. He looked out the window and saw his neighbour's Nissan Micra on fire. Another car looked like it had been pushed into the Micra and this car was also on fire, scorching a nearby house.

The man then saw Quirke and an accomplice throw something through the window of a Skoda and set that vehicle on fire before both men ran off.

Gda Butler said the two men had also stolen several CDs from the Skoda.