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Dad gets six years for starting €1m fire at head shop


A Dublin man set fire to a head shop because of a grudge he held over the drug-related death of his brother, a court has heard.

Father-of-three Davin Flynn (42) was seen on CCTV with another man before the massive blaze that caused €1m worth of damage, forced homes to be evacuated and closed a busy city centre street for days.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a six-year jail term and said Flynn’s plan to damage the head shop “worked only too well”.

Flynn, of York Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson at the Nirvana head shop in Capel Street on February 12, 2010.


He has 65 previous convictions including robbery, criminal damage, burglary and thefts.

Det Gda Eoin Colbert said it took five units of Dublin Fire Brigade to control the flames, which also destroyed a neighbouring head shop and an adult store.

Only one of the three buildings was insured and the location is now a vacant plot.

Judge Nolan said it seemed that Flynn bore “a grudge” against the head shop, which might have sold drugs to his brother who had died in 2010.

Det Gda Colbert told Derek Cooney, prosecuting, that an alarm company notified the Nirvana business owner shortly after the fire started.

Firefighters recovered €484,000 of the owner’s cash from a safe at the neighbouring head shop, Souvenir Seeds Store.

The detective told Mr Cooney that this premises sold the now-illegal head shop drug “snow blow” from a hatch up until 4am or 5am.

He said good quality CCTV footage showed Flynn, who was carrying bolt cutters, go through a side gate to the back of the Nirvana premises.

He said Flynn was the subject of European Arrest Warrants when he fled the country twice, before finally returning last year to hand himself in to gardai.

Det Gda Colbert agreed with Michael O’Higgins, defending, that his client decided to overcome his heroin problem when he saw what the drug was doing to his brother.

He agreed that Flynn, a “gifted footballer” who spent most of his young adult life in jail, was deemed at low risk of re-offending from a psychologist’s report.

Judge Nolan acknowledged that Flynn had reformed and was now drugs-free, but could not ignore the seriousness of the offence.

He said he would give credit to Flynn for any time he has spent in custody on the matter, here or in any other jurisdiction.