Convoy Orange Hall arsonist jailed for two years

A STRANORLAR father of four was jailed for two years today for arson he caused to Convoy Orange Hall which cost E358,570 to reinstate. A further three year prison sentence was suspended.
Damien Murray (36) with an address at 26 Ardmiran Park eventually admitted to gardai that he set alight the Thiepval LOL Hall in Convoy on October 3, 2014.
Eamon McGill (35), originally from Convoy, who now lives in Strabane, pleaded guilty to causing E1,700 worth of criminal damage to the doors of the nearby Presbyterian Church on the same night.
McGill was given a two year suspended sentence to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years and pay $2,000 to Donegal Hospice within seven days.
In the Circuit Court sitting in Letterkenny, Judge Sean O’Donnabhain heard from Sgt McNally how a footprint was found near the church door by scenes of crime officers and this matched a runner found during a search in Strabane, by the PSNI of McGill’s partner’s house.
During a fourth interview with gardai, Murray eventually admitted his part in the arson of the hall.
Sgt McNally told the court the insurance payout for the extensively damaged building came to E220,000. There was a E60,000 donation made by the government and the balance came from the order’s own funds.
Passing sentence Judge O’Donnabhain said the two men were well beyond the age one might expect or look for “this type of aggravating factor”.
In relation to McGill the judge said it was “disgraceful behaviour which caused untold hurt in the community from which McGIll came”.
Sentencing Murray, Judge O’Donnabhain stressed how arson was a very serious crime.
“An aggravating factor was the phenomenal amount of damage done and the very real impact and loss to the community as a result of his behaviour,” the judge said.
The court heard that Murray had eleven previous convictions while McGill had 31.
Barrister John Smith for Murray said his client wished to apologise to the people of Convoy and he had great remorse for what he had done.
Mr Peter Nolan BL for McGill pointed out that Convoy was a mixed community going back hundreds of years with a very good relationship between all denominations.
“McGill was born and reared there. He is ashamed of himself for what he did. He is a pariah in Convoy who now lives in Strabane,” Mr Nolan added.

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CONVOY Orange Hall officially re-opened its doors on Saturday – two years after being destroyed in an arson attack.


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