Gardaí have requested information on the arson attack on the Offaly family farm

Gardaí believe an arson attack on a family farm in Offaly was “a targeted act” and is urging those with information to come forward.

The attack, which took place on 27 November 2021 at the O’Neill family farm on the outskirts of Clonbulloge, will be covered on Crimecall on RTÉ One tonight at 9.35pm.

Farm owner Eugene O’Neill found out about the fire on his farm when a neighbor began knocking on the window of his family home to warn them.

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The fire caused damage of 400,000 to 500,000 euros.

“Around 7 a.m. our neighbor woke us up. She just kept screaming ‘fire, fire, fire’.”

“We couldn’t see much, only smoke, it was very windy.

“There was smoke everywhere. We didn’t even know what was burning and what wasn’t.”

Eugene and his family discovered several fires in and around their farm, endangering their livestock, expensive farm equipment, automatic milking robot and home.

The fire caused around €400,000 to €500,000 in damage, including the destruction of the automatic milking robot, ending the family’s plans to expand the business.

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The O’Neill family is concerned that the perpetrator or perpetrators may return and do the same thing again.

Gardaí investigators found that the farm machinery had been “individually straw-wrapped” and set on fire. Although the farm was monitored by extensive CCTV cameras, Garda believe the cable to the cameras was deliberately cut just before 5am on the morning of the fire.

They say the hard drive for the cameras was stolen during the night and “has yet to be recovered”.

One of Eugene’s biggest concerns is whether “they’re going to come back and do it again.”

Eugene’s wife, Lorraine, says she vividly recalls the intensity of the flames and the scramble as family members entered burning sheds to rescue animals and equipment.

“There was a huge ball of orange flames in front of me… You watched as you held your breath until they came out. That was awful.

“It was really, really windy and it was blowing the fire towards us and towards the house.

“It’s the most terrifying feeling to think that when you go to bed at night there are people on the street moving with bad intentions.”

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/gardai-appealing-for-information-on-offaly-family-farms-arson-attack-42020810.html Gardaí have requested information on the arson attack on the Offaly family farm

Fry Electronics Team

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