a man has been jailed for seven years for setting fire to an apartment complex as part of a family feud and causing almost €400,000 in damages.
Patrick Maughan (29) set the fire outside an occupied flat in the complex while a family with two young children were inside.
There were no injuries aside from smoke inhalation but 31 people, including children, fled. Some of the residents had to climb over balconies to escape.
After the fire, 20 apartments had to be repaired and the residents were in alternative accommodation for eight months.
The company that owned the complex incurred a total loss of €517,000 in repairs, lost rent and rehousing costs.
Maughan, of Boot Road, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson at Thornfield Square, Clondalkin, on July 7, 2013.
Judge Patricia Ryan imposed a 10-year term with the final three suspended.
Gda Aisling McGowan told prosecuting counsel Maurice Coffey that CCTV showed Maughan going to a petrol station in the early hours and buying €2 of petrol and a fuel can. He was next seen entering the apartment complex.
A mother who was up with her sick child noticed the smoke and saw the fire outside an apartment. She shouted at the residents to get out.
Maughan was arrested shortly afterwards and later told gardai he "was out of it" and started the fire as part of a family feud.
Gda McGowan told the court that Maughan is a member of the Travelling community and is married with four children.
Defence counsel Michael Bowman SC said it was an act "of gross stupidity and recklessness". He said Maughan was drinking and taking prescription drugs at the time.
"But for the grace of God this could have been far more serious," he added.