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Serial Kerry arsonist who set fire to two houses and three pubs ‘glad’ he was caught

Noel O’Carroll told gardaí he ‘didn’t know where it would go if he wasn’t stopped’

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Tralee Circuit Criminal Court. File photo

Simon BrouderKerryman

A serial arsonist who set fire to two houses and three pubs in Fenit and Tralee, told gardaí who arrested him that he was ‘glad’ he’d been caught.

Noel O’Carroll, who has a former address at Island View, Fenit and now resides full time at the Cuan Mhuire addiction treatment centre in county Limerick – appeared at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to seven counts of arson in Tralee and Fenit on dates between October 2017 and November 2019.

Tralee Circuit Criminal Court. File photo

The first three incidents – in October 2017 and October 2018 – occurred in Fenit when Mr O’Carroll set fire to a holiday home adjacent to his property. The fire didn’t take hold and extinguished itself.

He later set fire to, and destroyed, three vehicles that were being restored in the same area.

On June 15 2019 Noel O’Carroll set fire to a property on Main Road in Fenit – by breaking a rear window and lighting a curtain – which was completely destroyed at a cost of €102,000 to its owner.

The three final incidents took place in pubs in Tralee and Fenit when Mr O’Carroll set light to toilet paper dispensers in the toilets. Similar incidents occurred at the Teach Beag Bar on The Mall in Tralee on July 11, 2019; at the West End Bar in Fenit on August 1 201 and at Baily’s Corner on Castle Street in Tralee on November 2019.

Mr O’Carroll was identified and subsequently caught when images of him taken from CCTV cameras in Bailys Corner were shared among a local bar workers’ WhatsApp group.

Detective Brian Mackey told Judge Catherine Staines that after his arrest Mr O’Carroll told him he was “glad” he had been caught.

“He said he didn’t know where it would go if he wasn’t stopped,” said Det Mackey.

Defence Barrister Brian McInerney SC said his client has a “very long standing and chronic alcohol problem” and is deeply remorseful for his actions.

Judge Staines said she accepted he was remorseful and noted his early admissions and guilty plea. She imposed a sentence of six years with the final two years suspended.

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