Belfast Telegraph

PSNI under fire over claim GAA club fire was 'accidental'

By Donna Deeney

A senior police officer is now reviewing the PSNI investigation of a fire at a GAA club in Londonderry following concerns raised by club members and Sinn Fein.

On Thursday afternoon the PSNI said the fire at Sean Dolan's GAA Clubhouse in Creggan was started accidentally and returned CCTV footage to club members.

Members then viewed the film and said they were shocked at how the police came to the conclusion the fire was accidental.

After showing the footage to Sinn Fein Foyle MLAs Raymond McCartney and Martina Anderson, an emergency meeting with Chief Inspector Chris Yates was called.

He then viewed the CCTV which led to the PSNI overturning its assessment and saying it was treating the fire as arson.

The CCTV footage from six cameras, all infra red, from the inside of the clubhouse was shown to members of the Press. It appears to show two figures outside the clubhouse entrance.

A series of bright flashes follow just moments before the fire ignites within the clubhouse.

Treasurer Jim McDaid says the club is considering lodging a complaint about the investigation with the Police Ombudsman.

He said: "After we saw the footage we were dumbfounded that a police investigator could come to the conclusion that this fire was started by accident.

"It was obvious to us that this was not the case and has left us concerned about the investigation and we are now considering lodging a complaint with the Ombudsman.

"Our job is to support the PSNI and we told them we do support them, but they are there to be held accountable to us and right now there is an issue surrounding public confidence."

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