A trainee manager, who set fire to his hotel three times causing more than £300,000-worth of damage, has been remanded for sentencing by a Dublin court.
David Smyth pleaded guilty to three charges of arson at the Fitzpatrick's Castle hotel, in Killiney, County Dublin, on 23 February, 15 September and 14 December 1996.
A police witness suggested that Smyth, of Dunmore East, County Waterford, wanted to be hailed as a hero for rescuing people to cover up for district court convictions relating to his alcohol problem.
The first fire was started by Smyth in a linen cupboard, the court heard. An English guest raised the alarm with Smyth, who helped get people to safety. Damage caused amounted to more than £8,000.
Guests had to smash windows to escape from the second fire, which caused some £300,000-worth of damage.
On the occasion of the December blaze, there were about 1,000 people in the 90-bedroom hotel attending Christmas functions. The fire was started by Smyth near a ground-floor suite. Damage amounted to £700.
Judge Joseph Mathews said Smyth was "a rare and unusual danger to society" and appeared to him to have an underlying behavioural problem as well as his alcohol problem.
Smyth's defence lawyer said he had been out of touch with reality at the time of the incidents and was highly regarded as a worker by all who knew him. Smyth said he had a serious alcohol problem for which he was undergoing counselling.
He was remanded on bail for sentence on 7 October.