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25 Jan 2022

Offaly arsonist still in custody as sentencing adjourned again

Offaly arsonist still in custody as sentencing is again adjourned

Man has convictions for arson in Offaly and Galway

THE man responsible for arson at Kinnitty Castle and two hotels in Galway in the 1990s, along with a fire in a car in Tullamore three years ago, remains in custody awaiting finalisation of his sentence.

Fred Dolan, 54, appeared before Tullamore Circuit Court via video link from prison and sentencing was adjourned to January 31 next.

Mr Dolan was found guilty in July of setting fire to a car at Harbour Street in Tullamore on June 9, 2018.

Mr Dolan, with addresses at Chapel Street and Clonminch Wood in Tullamore had denied causing the fire in a Mercedes parked quite close to his then address at Chapel Street.

He was convicted after the jury viewed CCTV recorded from a camera at a public house, trading as Tanyard Lane at the time, on William Street.

The Circuit Court in July was also told that Mr Dolan had previously been convicted of four counts of arson, at the Skeffington Arms Hotel, the Corrib Great Southern Hotel, Kinnitty Castle, and a house at Glenard Avenue, Salthill.

The arson at the Skeffington Arms was committed in December 1994 and the Kinnitty Castle offence occurred in September 1997.

Mr Dolan received a three-year suspended sentence for those offences and had not been convicted of arson again until found guilty of the 2018 Tullamore offence.

He also had convictions for two theft offences, one recorded at Tullamore District Court in 2017 and the other at Mullingar District Court the same year.

In July Judge Keenan Johnson remanded Mr Dolan in custody, saying the four previous convictions for arson were of “grave concern” to him and the accused was not entitled to bail, having been found guilty by a jury of another arson offence.

In addition to the custody remand, he directed that a psychiatric report be prepared for Mr Dolan in advance of the sentencing date this month and indicated that a custodial sentence will be imposed. “You'll get credit for time served,” said the judge.

Judge Johnson was not sitting today (Tuesday, December 21) when the case was scheduled and following Mr Dolan's appearance by video link, Judge Francis Comerford adjourned the matter to January 31.

The two-day trial heard how the owner of the Mercedes had parked the car on Harbour Street and gone for a drink at 9.30pm on the evening of June 9, a Saturday.

CCTV footage from a camera above a door of the Tanyard Lane public house captured the door of the pub, the footpath, the junction of William Street and Harbour Street, and in the distance, a number of parked cars, one of which the prosecution said was the Mercedes which went on fire later that night. The jury also saw footage from inside the pub and Mr Dolan accepted that he could be seen standing near the bar and looking out the window in the direction of Harbour Street.

The jury were also told that a figure recorded walking on Harbour Street and getting into the Mercedes at 10.30pm, leaving and returning to it and getting into the back of it for three minutes, was Mr Dolan. The prosecution also said a man recorded crossing the street and going into the pub was Mr Dolan because he was wearing the same clothes as the accused inside at the bar. The fire brigade had been called when smoke was seen coming from the back area of the car at 11.10pm and when the vehicle was examined afterwards, firelighters were found in it.

The jury also heard that Mr Dolan, who lived “around the corner” from where the car was parked, was recognised by Det Garda Pat Cleary in the footage from the interior of the pub.

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