15-year-old who burnt house down with firework given six-month sentence

15-Year-Old Who Burnt House Down With Firework Given Six-Month Sentence
The schoolboy caused about €135,000 worth of fire damage, the Dublin Children's Court heard.
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Tom Tuite

A 15-year-old boy has been given a six-month custodial sentence for a stray firework arson that gutted a Dublin home.

The schoolboy caused about €135,000 worth of fire damage, the Dublin Children's Court heard.


He has pleaded guilty to arson and endangering life in connection with a house fire at Wellington Street, Dublin 7, on November 27th, 2020.

An updated probation report on the teen, who had already been given a six-month reprieve and supervised for a chance to avoid being detained.

The sentence to be served in the Oberstown detention centre was backdated by one month due to time served in custody on remand at earlier stages.

The teen, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, also committed more offences after the fire.


He received shorter concurrent sentences for a street robbery, an attempted robbery and cannabis possession. Theft and public order charges were taken into consideration.

Earlier, Judge Paul Kelly described photos of the fire damage as "shocking". The arson, he said, caused "significant personal and emotional consequences", and the boy "effectively burned the house down".

The boy admitted setting off the firework, which started the blaze through a window. However, he denied intentionally aiming it at the house.

A victim impact statement has been furnished during the course of the proceedings, which had been before the court for over a year.


Emotional consequences

Garda David O'Callaghan said three units from the Dublin Fire Brigade extinguished the fire.

The blaze started in the front of the house, in the sitting room.

The owner was out the back with his partner when he heard a loud bang. Smoke and flames came from the sitting room.

He went back to alert his partner, and the two men, in their 50s and 60s, got out. The court heard that they were "made homeless for eight months" after facing a serious risk to their lives.


The older man had hearing difficulties and would not have heard the firework bang.

Their home was insured to cover the €135,000 worth of damage. The couple did not suffer any physical injuries but had "a huge amount of stress", Garda O'Callaghan said.

The couple had lived in the house since 1983; 15 years ago, they renovated it at the cost of €167,000.

Gardaí obtained CCTV footage and identified the boy who made admissions and was apologetic.

Defence solicitor Brian Keenan had told the court the teen’s actions were "the height of immaturity", and he could not foresee the outcome.

The court heard he had family problems, he began smoking cannabis and "hanging around with the wrong people".

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