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Ruane hits out after arson atttack on Irish language school

By Lisa Smyth

Published 29/08/2009

Principal Aedin Geary of Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche outside the destroyed building
Principal Aedin Geary of Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche outside the destroyed building

The Education Minister has condemned a blaze that destroyed a large part of an Irish language school in Castlewellan just days before pupils were due to return to class.

Detectives last night confirmed the blaze at Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche was malicious and while a PSNI spokeswoman said a motive into the incident was ongoing, she said it was not being treated as sectarian.

Department of Education and South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) officials are working together to ensure the scene is cleared and temporary premises are found for children when they return to school on Tuesday.

A fire in a mobile classroom at the school on the Circular Road area of the town was discovered shortly after 4am yesterday morning. The blaze spread through three mobile classrooms.

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane said: “I am appalled that over the summer months there have been a number of attacks on schools across the north.

“These attacks result in scarce public resources having to be spent on repairs and rebuilding instead of being used for other programmes benefiting everyone.

“Plans for a new building at Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche are being progressed and planning permission has just been granted. However, in the meantime my department is working closely with the SEELB and the school to make alternative arrangements as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on the education of the children.”

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