By David Raleigh
A man charged with setting fire to three hay barns containing more than 270 hay bales and causing €150,000 worth of damage, allegedly told Gardaí it was "a moment of insanity".
John Ryan, 23, of Carraig Beg, Doon, Co Limerick, was charged at Limerick District Court with three counts of arson, and one count of theft.
Mr Ryan was arrested last Tuesday after an armed Garda unit were deployed to South East Limerick in a crackdown on rural crime, including a spate of arson attacks on farmers property.
Detective Garda Mike Reidy, Bruff Garda station, gave evidence of arresting Mr Ryan at 1.35am today and charging him with arson of a barn belonging to farmer and publican Pat Whelan, at Clonlusk, Doon, on a date between the 27th and 28th of September last.
Mr Ryan allegedly replied when charged: "I'm sorry, a moment of insanity."
Criminal damage worth €50,000 was caused after a large quantity of hay was destroyed in the fire, and two bullocks were killed in the blaze.
Detective Reidy also charged Mr Ryan with theft of tools and farm equipment worth €1,000, the property of Liam Ryan, on January 1, 2015, at Dromalty, Cappamore.
Detective Garda Ted Riordan, Bruff Garda station, charged Mr Ryan with arson on October 5, 2015, at a barn, the property of farmer John Hayes, at Toomaline, Doon.
The four column barn containing 150 bales of hay and straw, and 100 bales of silage, were destroyed in the blaze at a cost of €50,000.
Detective Riordan said Mr Ryan replied: "I'm sorry" after caution.
Garda Chris Cowen, Bruff Garda station, gave evidence of arresting and charging Mr Ryan with arson on October 6, 2015, at a hay barn, the property of farmer Sean Fitzgibbon, at Ballyvalode, Oola, Co Limerick, in which 120 bales of hay and a car trailer were destroyed causing damage of €50,000.
Mr Ryan was granted fee legal aid.
Judge Marian O'Leary remanded Mr Ryan in custody to appear before Limerick District Court on October 20 for a bail application.
Four other men, arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the same Garda investigation into rural crime in the Pallasgreen, Doon, Oola, and Cappamore areas, remain in custody.