Two men charged in connection with church fire

MORE than €300,000 damage was caused to St Laurence’s Church in Dungarvan in a New Year night blaze which resulted in part of the roof collapsing.

Two unemployed men appeared in custody before a special sitting of Dungarvan District Court yesterday charged with burglary and criminal damage at St Laurence’s Catholic Church, at Ballinroad, Co Waterford, on New Year’s night.

Stephen Foley, aged 47, of no fixed abode and Ring Cross, Dungarvan, and Kevin Nolan, aged 30, of 47 Childers Estate, Dungarvan, were both granted bail by Judge Terence Finn in their own bond of €1,000 and an independent surety of €6,000, one third of which would have to be lodged in cash in court.

Neither accused was able to meet the bail conditions and they were taken into custody to Cork Prison to appear again before a special sitting of the same court next Monday.

The church is closed, with the daily and weekend Masses transferred to other churches in the Abbeyside parish.

Inspector Paul Heffernan strongly opposed the bail application made by Nolan.

He said a file was being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. The investigation is continuing.

Solicitor Eamonn Hayes, for both accused, applied for free legal aid.

Earlier in the hearing, evidence of arrest, charge, and caution of Foley and Nolan was given by Garda John Fleming and Detective Garda Brian O’Callaghan respectively, who both told the court the accused made no comment when the burglary and criminal damage charges were put to them.

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