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Arson attack on old school building condemned

Jim McLaughlin and Andrina Brady, from Derriaghy Village Community Association, with Jonathan Craig MLA at the former Derriaghy Primary School which has been targeted by vandals breaking in and causing damage in the grounds.  US1428-539cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Jim McLaughlin and Andrina Brady, from Derriaghy Village Community Association, with Jonathan Craig MLA at the former Derriaghy Primary School which has been targeted by vandals breaking in and causing damage in the grounds. US1428-539cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

An arson attack on the former Derriaghy Primary School building has been condemned.

Last weekend vandals gained access to the site in Milltown which is earmarked for use by the local community.

Picnic tables near a boiler room were set on fire and a local resident quickly alerted the emergency services.

Policing Board member Jonathan Craig MLA said: “If the boiler house had caught fire this would have had a catastrophic impact on the local community and could have completely destroyed the old school building. This building is due to have refurbishment work carried out by the South Eastern Education and Library Board and is also in the process of being partially handed over to the local council as a community facility for the residents of the Derriaghy area.”

He continued: “As a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, I would appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident to pass any information on to the police. Acts of arson or anti-social behaviour on this community building must stop and I am confident that the PSNI are treating this incident very seriously.

“I would once again appeal to the local community to use whatever influence they have to stop this behaviour before someone is either seriously injured or killed and someone ends up being sent to prison.”

Derriaghy Village Community Association Chairman, Jim McLaughlin said: “This could have turned into a very serious incident if it had not been for the vigilance and rapid response of a local resident who saw the fire and phoned the Fire Service.

“This act of vandalism is an attack not only on the school but on the community as a whole.

“If the building had caught fire, the entire community would have lost out on a wonderful community building that is used by the whole community, young and old.

“We are asking people to be vigilant so that this does not happen again and if anyone knows anything to please contact the PSNI.”

 

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