herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Ex-pupil who sparked school fire walks free

ATTACK: d30k of damage caused

A DUBLIN woman who set fire to two classrooms in her former school with a group of other young people has received a one-year suspended sentence.

Garda Anthony Quinn revealed that Amy McGivergan (20) was the only one of the group who had not minimised her role in starting the blaze, which caused more than €30,000 damage.

McGivergan, of Hazel Grove, Portrane, Donabate, told gardai in interview that all six young people had set fire to blinds in two classroom windows in a joint effort.

She pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson of two classrooms at Community College, Balbriggan, on Sunday, April 20, 2008.

She has no previous convictions and her co-accused were all dealt with in the Children's Court.

Garda Quinn told Gerardine Small, prosecuting, that McGivergan, who was under HSE care at the time, had been part of a group of young people who smashed two classroom windows and set fire to the blinds as they were passing through the grounds.

One of the group remained at the scene as the Dublin Fire Brigade tended to the blaze a short time later.

McGivergan went to the garda station a few days later and admitted she and another girl had initially tried to light the window blinds before the group got the flames going after a joint effort with their cigarette lighters.

Judge Martin Nolan commented that the culprits "thought (the offence) would be a good idea to pass an evening" when Garda Quinn told him that none of the young people had explained why they started the fires.

Garda Quinn agreed that the incident happened on a Sunday, when the building was vacant, and that it was not carried out with any degree of sophistication.

Judge Nolan suspended the full sentence for one year on account of McGivergan's previous good record and full co-operation, and on condition she remains under Probation and Welfare Service supervision for one year.

hnews@herald.ie

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