A "passionate environmentalist" who caused damage totalling €3m in an arson attack on the Irish headquarters of the Jesuit Order has had his sentence adjourned.I'm sure that many of my readers are reeling at the irony of the Jesuits being persecuted for not being sufficiently involved in environmentalism. I'm sure that many of you are angry that the Jesuits are not using their moral authority to alert the world to more sinister forces than global warming.
Noah Bunn (aged 26), a former clerical employee of the Jesuits and member of environmental group Friends of the Earth, set the fire on Good Friday last because he believed the order were not using their "moral authority" to alert the world to the dangers of climate change.
Garda [Irish Police Officer] Brian Flannery told Mr Sean Gillane BL, prosecuting, that after extinguishing the blaze at the building, Dublin Fire Brigade alerted gardaí to suspicions that the fire had been started deliberately.
Gardaí carried out a technical examination of the scene and spoke to the sole resident, a Korean priest, who told them he had observed Bunn deliberately set the fire.
Gda Flannery said Bunn, who had moved to live in Ireland from England, was working for a recruitment agency filling clerical roles around Dublin. He was observed on CCTV purchasing petrol and a lighter near the house prior to the incident.
He called out to see if there was anybody in the house and told the Korean priest that he planned to burn it down. He said he shouted at the priest to get out and pointed to his knife which was stuck under his belt to let him know he would not be stopped.
Gda Flannery said that Bunn revealed that when he ignited the lighter the flames "went like a firebomb up the walls."
He left the building and sat on the steps outside the building with the priest. He did not tell him why he set the fire, but gave him the telephone number for the emergency services.
Gda Flannery said Bunn, who had no previous convictions, had caused damage totalling €3,042,000.
Gda Flannery agreed with defence counsel, Mr Martin Giblin SC, that Bunn had fully co-operated with gardaí after handing himself in and had never applied for bail
Mr Giblin said Bunn was a "passionate environmentalist who was overly concerned at the time with climate change".
His only explanation was that he had been drinking and formed the idea that "the Jesuits were not using their moral authority to alert the world sufficiently to the dangers of climate change."
He said this was no longer Bunn’s view and he had given an undertaking that he would never commit an offence again no matter how strongly he felt about an issue.
Incidentally, whilst very worried about the Jesuits as an order, I don't have a general anti-Jesuit prejudice. I've met too many exceptional Jesuits for that. When Jesuits are good, they're very very good.