Trial Order For Pub Arson Man...


Trial Order For Pub Arson Man Accused Of Causing €2m Damage

Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas

02:22 7 Jun 2024

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A crane driver has been sent forward for trial accused of causing €2m worth of damage during an arson attack at a former pub earmarked for homeless accommodation in Dublin 4.

The Shipwright Pub on Thorncastle Street in Ringsend went on fire in the early hours of New Year's Eve.

Gardaí and six units of Dublin Fire Brigade rushed to the scene and brought the blaze under control.

Steven McDonnell, 49, of Cambridge Park, Ringsend, was charged in March with causing damage to the former pub by fire.

The father of four was granted €2,750 bail with strict terms and faced his third hearing at Dublin District Court today.

The State served him with a book of evidence, and Judge Treasa Kelly noted that the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that Mr McDonnell would face trial on indictment.

Judge Kelly granted a return-for-trial order, sending Mr McDonnell to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where the case will be listed for mention on July 4.

She noted that there was consent to reduce his Garda station sign-on condition from three days to once a week and that he could get his passport back for a four-day holiday in Spain.

The judge warned Mr McDonnell that he must inform the prosecution if he intended to use an alibi and ordered Gardaí to hand over interview videos to the defence.

The accused, who did not address the court, was granted legal aid to include senior counsel representation.

Defence solicitor Tony Collier said, "The alleged damage is €2m", and he had also told the court Mr McDonnell "asserted his innocence in relation to this case".

During an earlier hearing, Detective Sergeant Jonathan Kelly said that the accused "made no reply" when charged with arson of the premises.

The officer had said, "In excess of €2m worth of damage was done as a result of the fire, and there was also potential for the fire to spread to the adjoining building where people were residents".

Mr McDonnell has surrendered his passport and must stay away from Thorncastle Street and Fitzwilliam Street, not apply for new travel documents, and have no contact with the pub owner.

He has agreed to the bail terms.

At the time of the fire, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive wanted to prepare the property for homeless families, including some from the local area.

With reporting by Tom Tuite.

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