Plans Already Passed For Arson Hit School

Temporary mobile classrooms at an Irish speaking school in Co Down have been destroyed overnight in an arson attack.

However, it is believed that plans for a new, permanent building at Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche in Castlewellan are already being progressed and that planning permission has just been granted for the new development.

The North's Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene at Circular Road, around four o'clock this morning.

The substantial fire took the crews around four hours to tackle and today both the police and fire service experts have launched an investigation.

Stormont Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has condemned the attack: "I am appalled that over the summer months, there have been a number of attacks on schools.

"These attacks are an affront to everyone in the community as they disrupt the education and well-being of our young people."

But she had better news and revealed that plans for a permanent building are already being progressed and "that planning permission has just been granted".

"In the meantime my Department is working closely with the South Eastern Education and Library Board and the school to make alternative arrangements as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on the education of the children," the Minister concluded.

Newcastle councillor Eamonn O'Neill has labelled the arson attack at Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche "malicious" but said it will not stop the school continuing its excellent record in Irish medium education.

The SDLP man, who sits on the school's management committee, said: "This is a downright disgusting act.

"There are three mobile classrooms burnt in this cowardly attack. As a member of the management committee I know at first-hand the amount of hard work that has gone into this school and preparing it for the new school year. Let me make this clear, that hard work will continue.

"Unfortunately, lots of records and reports and the labours of years of hard work by both teachers and pupils have been destroyed but thankfully, over time, these can be replaced.

"We have just recently received planning permission for a new school build and a strategy has been put in place to expand and strengthen the school in the community. This attack, although a setback, will not deter that strategy," he continued.

A local Sinn Féin Councillor William Clarke has also commented: "It is a devastating blow to parents, the young people who attend the school and also teachers who are preparing the curriculum and are getting ready for the new school year".

Meanwhile, an AOH hall in Co Antrim has been trashed.

The Hibernians hall near Ballymoney was attacked by vandals and graffiti daubed on the walls on the property on the Rosnashane Road.

It was discovered at about 11.30am on Thursday morning and the police are treating the incident as a sectarian hate crime. It is understood a local GAA hall was also damaged by the vandals.

Across north Belfast, there have been a series of appartently tit-for-tat sectarian attacks on schools, the worst seeing the destruction of a primary school in Newtownabbey.

See: Razed Whitehouse School Reborn


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 March 2013
Summercove National School Removed From Priority List
Fianna Fáil Senator Denis O'Donovan has slammed the Education Minister for removing Summercove National School from the priority list for a new school building despite the fact it has been on this list for 12 years. Senator O'Donovan commented: "Summercove National School has been on a priority list for a new school building for 12 years.
25 September 2012
Minister For Education Commits To 100 New Schools
The Minister for Education has announced that more than 100 new schools are to be built over the next five years to cope in order to cope with a “massive rise” in the number of children who will need school places.
11 March 2014
Secondary School Teachers Protest Over Junior Cycle Proposals
Secondary school teachers across the State are protesting over proposed changes to the Junior Cycle programme. The protest have been coordinated by the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland and the Teacher's Union of Ireland, which represent 27,000 teachers.
29 July 2009
North's Latest School Fire Probed
Vandals have again set fire to a school in north Belfast. The PSNI are investigating after the canteen at Stella Maris School on the Shore Road was attacked overnight. It was also found that paint had been thrown over the building when the blaze was discovered at 2am on Wednesday.
19 August 2011
€35m Education Campus Approved
The Irish Education Minister Ruairí Quinn has given the green light to Co. Monaghan Vocational Education Committee to proceed to the next stage in the construction of a €35 million education campus. Following a tender process, the VEC will commence construction on the new campus.