Meath councillor calls for 'level heads' after school fire blamed on 'lowlives'

Meath councillor calls for 'level heads' after school fire blamed on 'lowlives'
The fire services attending the fire last night. Pic: Joe Conlon

A Meath councillor has called for "level heads" as anger mounts in the town over the destruction of an old school in a suspected arson attack in the town overnight.

Gardaí have confirmed that they are investigating a suspected criminal damage by fire incident which occurred at the 73-year-old O'Growney National School in Athboy at 9.15pm last night.

"No injuries were reported. No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing," they said.

The listed building, which has been vacant since 2017, is believed to have been gutted in fire.

Local Cllr David Gilroy says the Department of Education had a part to play in why the school was left idle for so long.

"To say there is a palpable anger over this is a massive understatement and on those lowlives who are responsible for setting the fire, well I don't have to spell it out.

"However derelict or vacant properties are always going to attract anti-social behaviour and this school has been sale agreed for a number of years but the Department of Education's continuous delay in divesting its interest in this property has resulted in the building remaining vacant and this inevitable outcome.

"The parish put it's efforts to move the situation forward and it was sale agreed for three years.

The fire services attending the fire last night. Pic: Joe Conlon
The fire services attending the fire last night. Pic: Joe Conlon

"So many generations had been taught there and the town would have loved to see life in it again by way of redevelopment.

I'm absolutely devastated by this as are a lot of people and while anger and annoyance is understandable, it is important at this point to keep level heads as we don't know the exact details or who was involved in setting alight the building.

"There are so many people upset at small minority of people - some of which are from outside the town - who are responsible for the anti-social behaviour here.

"The main thing is that no-one was hurt and I would appeal to anyone with any information to contact gardai and let them to their job."


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