herald

Monday 16 September 2019

Developer offering €5k reward to catch thugs after new arson attack

DEVELOPER Gerry Gannon has offered a reward of €5,000 to help find thugs who torched three of his properties.

The developer, whose loans are in NAMA, said the wave of arson attacks caused millions of euro in damage.

Historic Newton House, in Swords, Dublin, was the latest casualty in a string of attacks seemingly targeting the developer.

It's estimated the cost of repairs will be €3.5m, along with costs to repair a €1.5m property in Rush.

The building in Swords was almost gutted in the fire last Friday -- the entire upper level was ravaged by flames but most of the downstairs can be salvaged, the businessman says.







Gutted

"It would make you cry," Mr Gannon told the Herald. "I understand that the heritage of Fingal is very important and it is so unfortunate."

"We think they were in the house all night -- they must have started the fire on the first floor. The fire started at 9.15am, which was most unusual."

The fire at Newton House followed a similar attack in Knockdromin House, in Rush, in July.

A third building owned by Mr Gannon, in Belcamp College, Balgriffin, was also gutted by a fire in April -- bringing total costs to an estimated €5m.

Mr Gannon said the latest fire had particular significance as he was chairman of Sporting Fingal FC, which had its headquarters in Newton House.

"I was involved with Sporting Fingal," he said. "It's very difficult to protect these things when you have these young children ad you can't go near them."

"Our heritage is very important and I certainly do not want to see it destroyed. It's not just me. Maybe because of who I am, there is more of a profile to target."

The house was under historical preservation and forensic investigators have been called in. The developer is now putting up a €5,000 reward for information provided to gardai which will lead to a conviction.

"I had to do something. I feel that obviously these people who set fire to it have been talking to their friends," Mr Gannon said.

"In fairness, NAMA has been very supportive, as has Fingal Council" he added.

Gardai confirmed the fire is "under active investigation" and Mr Gannon said they are reviewing CCTV footage.

hnews@herald.ie

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