A family centre in west Dublin has been declared structurally unsound by the HSE after being rammed by a truck earlier this week.
A Garda investigation has been opened into the attack, which Siobhan Feehan, chief executive of the Deansrath Family Centre in Clondalkin said had come as a “terrible shock” to all concerned.
“We have never experienced any incident like this in the 20 odd years we have been here in Clondalkin,” Ms Feehan said of the attack, which occurred at 7.30am on Monday morning, which is set to close the centre for at least six months.
She said it was “luck” that nobody had been hurt “as at 7.30 in the morning when the truck rammed the centre children would have been coming here looking for their breakfast”.
The centre’s staff are currently attempting to source alternative accommodation for the various services provided at the centre.
They include early years services, family support, play therapy, and loss and bereavement counselling for separated families.
“We were already looking at fundraising for a new centre as we are at full capacity in Deansrath, but we will certainly be needing a new one now,” Ms Feehan said.
Gardaí said that nothing had been taken from the premises during the attack, but that “significant damage” had been caused to the building.
“No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing,” a spokesperson confirmed.
The motive for the attack remains a mystery.
“We provide a huge range of services, for a very large catchment area,” Ms Feehan said.
She said that a lady working at the centre had “heard a terrible bang” early on Monday morning and discovered two men who had rammed a stolen truck repeatedly into the front of the building.
Upon being discovered the two men fled and left the truck, understood to have been stolen in Co Meath on Sunday, around the corner from the centre.
“The building is now condemned, it’s a dangerous building, so we’ve no access to it,” Ms Feehan said.
She said that the walls had been hit with such force that they had collapsed inwards and separated from the building’s roof.
It’s understood that attempts are being made to arrange a temporary site for the 50 pre-school children who normally attend Deansrath with a local school.