Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Vandals go on rampage at special needs school

Burglars who vandalised a special needs school in Co Armagh and stole money raised to help sick children have been branded “disgraceful”.

Ceara School on Sloan Street in Lurgan was broken into on Saturday night. The intruders caused thousands of pounds of damage as they ransacked offices in the school and stole computers and cash.

The school, which opened in 2001, has just under 100 pupils aged three to 19 who are wheelchair bound or have severe learning difficulties.

School principal Dr Peter Cunningham said: “The only money that they got was the money out of the hospice box that we collect for children that are less well-off than them (the pupils).”

The burglars also took three heavily-encrypted computers but did not bring the power leads.

Mr Cunningham added: “We are looking at up to £10,000 worth of damage and I don’t have that money. Every penny that we have to spend on this is money taken away from the children.

“It isn’t fair. The good people of Lurgan and Craigavon have supported this school.”

DUP education spokesman and chairman of the Assembly's Education Committee, Mervyn Storey, said the actions of the burglars were disgraceful. “For anyone to attack this school in such a way is disgraceful. It shows that those involved know nothing, nor care less for those children who have learning difficulties for whom Ceara is a lifeline,” he said.

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