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Neighbour's threat to set fire to house

A MAN threatened to burn down his neighbour's house during a row, a court has heard.

Aonghus McCann claimed he had been locked in a disagreement with Robert McGee for some time and had only used the words in a moment of anger.

But the 37-year-old pleaded guilty to making a threat "in a way which he knew was likely to endanger life".

He was given a three-month suspended sentence after Blanchardstown District Court heard the background to the incident was a "general malaise" in his estate, in which a number of neighbours were fighting with one another.

Judge David McHugh said he was only suspending the prison sentence for a year because he had been promised that the situation had calmed down since the incident in Curragh Hall Crescent, Tyrellstown, on August 12, 2012.

Giving evidence, Gda Sgt Maria Callaghan said gardai were called by Mr McGee after McCann threatened him.

Asked by the judge if the threat could have been taken seriously, the officer said it could because there had been "on-going issues in relation to the parties" at the time.


Terence Hanahoe, defending, conceded that his client had 82 previous convictions, but said none was for criminal damage.

He added that the estate had been an unhappy place in the lead-up to the incident.

"There was a general malaise in it," Mr Hanahoe told the court.

"Lots of people were fighting with each other and Mr McCann was fighting with this particular person.

"These were hot words spoken in an argument with these people. There was nothing to them other than that."

Mr Hanahoe also revealed that while his client had an alcohol problem, he had since stopped drinking.

And he said the situation in the area had "calmed down considerably", adding that McCann had no other charges pending against him.

Judge McHugh said he would deal with the case "on a historic basis" and suspended the sentence for a year.

He added that he would have suspended it for two years, only he had been given assurances about the situation.

"I am very much taking the reassurances that were offered by Mr Hanahoe that the situation has resolved itself," the judge said.

"Otherwise, I would be of a different view."