A suspected malicious act of arson has cost a Lifford farm family up to half a million euro in damage and could have endangered several lives.
Charlie Dooher, who runs the grain and beef farm just outside Lifford on the Castlefin Road, says he does not know why his farm machinery and outbuildings were targeted late on Monday night.
The damage destroyed two tractors, a load handler, a bailer and a harvest mower, as well as causing significant damage to his shed buildings and destroyed €18,000 worth of silage.
They believe the fire was started sometime near midnight on Monday when a family member saw flames come from the building.
They rushed to the scene and tackled the blaze with water stored in a slurry container and managed to salvage some machinery, However, the intense blaze had caused significant damage before fire services from both sides of the border arrived on the scene.
Gardai confirmed they are investigating the matter and are appealing for anyone who who may have witnessed anything thing in the area to contact them.
Charlie explained that he rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised.
“It is what it is. It was done on purpose. The shed could not catch fire as there is no electricity in it. There were 22 bales of straw there and they did not light them. They only lit the machines. The machinery is one thing but they destroyed my pit of silage that I had for feed. They destroyed the silage pit walls that now have to be demolished.”
He said the machinery, including Valtra and Massey Ferguson tractors, a Red Rock load handler, was valued at over €200,000.
The impact was felt all the more acutely as the damage came during the busiest time of the year for Charlie.
He said through a lot of goodwill and support, he has been able to keep working his farm after receiving the lend of equipment.
Neighbours very helpful
“Our neighbours have been very helpful and when McGinty Tractors in Donegal town heard the news, they were here the next day. They knew I needed equipment, which I won’t be able to buy until God knows when. But they left it that I have a baler and mower to use to whatever time, as well as the use of a tractor. So I want to thank them for that as I’m now up and working again”.