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Probe as fire bomb thrown at courthouse

Gardai are investigating an attempt to petrol bomb a courthouse.

The alarm was raised at around 3.45am yesterday when the security company received an alert from the fire system at Ennis courthouse in Clare.

Gardai, along with a staff member from the company responsible for security at the courthouse, were contacted and arrived at the scene within minutes.

There was no immediate sign of a fire - however, as the security officer carried out a walk around the complex, he noticed that a window in the family law court at the rear of courthouse had been smashed.

Gardai smelled smoke and found evidence of an accelerant, believed to be petrol.

The fire service was alerted and two units from nearby Ennis station were sent to the scene.

A bottle, stuffed at the neck with a rag, was discovered on the floor inside the courtroom. The bottle had broken and while the carpet was damaged, the blaze failed to spread to the rest of the room.

Great effort was required to smash through the reinforced security window so that the petrol bomb could be tossed inside.

attack

Much of the basement area of the building, including holding cells and other rooms, were filled with smoke.

The main courthouse building was constructed in 1852.

Gardai carried out door-to-door inquiries in the local area while footage from local CCTV camera systems was also being looked at.

The scene was preserved for the remainder of the morning pending investigation.

The investigation is being led by Detective Inspector John Galvin, who said gardai are treating this incident very seriously.

"This is a particularly unusual occurrence and thankfully not a common occurrence in the town. We would appeal to anybody within the community with any information about this incident to contact us," Det Insp Galvin said.

"This building is the seat of justice within the town and a very historic building also," Mr Galvin added.

Gardai have asked anyone who was in the area to make contact with them if they saw anything suspicious between 3am and 4am.

hnews@herald.ie


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