Three teenagers in court on Mountcharles arson charges

Donegal Circuit Court has heard how three teenagers set fire to the furniture in a gate lodge house in Mountcharles, south Donegal causing €60,000 in damage.

One of them, a girl who was 15 at the time,  and now has a nine-months-old baby girl, Donegal Circuit Court was told.

The girl, who cannot be identified and a young man, 20-year-old Edgar Kearns, admitted arson at Gate Lodge, Mountcharles, on March 8th 2008.

Another teenage girl, also too young to be named, has already been dealt with by an earlier court.

Judge John O’Hagan said it was a “very serous” offence with a life sentence the maximum penalty.

He said the youngsters were an out-of-control anti-social group who had been drinking and there were probably other substances involved. They broke a window to gain access to what was a holiday home.

He added that the act done was absolutely deliberate.

The judge heard the youngsters piled up furniture and then set it alight. When thick black smoke emerged they fled the premises.

He said he believed that Kearns, who was 18 at the time, and the teenage mother, now 17, were remorseful for what they did and they hadn’t been in trouble with gardai since.

Kearns, of Millrace Crescent, Donegal Town, was sentenced to two years, suspended on condition that he do 50 hours community service.

Because of conditions that apply under the Children’s Act, Judge O’Hagan put the girl’s case back until Friday when he will hear from the Probation Service.

He told her she now had an opportunity to experience the demands of parenting.