Belfast Telegraph

Garda probes arson attack on walkway at Battle of Boyne site

By David Reed

An arson attack to a boardwalk near the historic Battle of the Boyne site is being investigated by police in the Republic.

Firefighters attended the scene at Oldbridge, Co Meath, on Thursday night and battled the blaze until after midnight.

The boardwalk starts close to the entrance to the Battle of the Boyne site and is popular with tourists and locals.

The fire damaged a section of the walk some 400 metres from the site, near the canal and the lock gates.

Garda confirmed that it believes the fire was started deliberately.

Local independent councillor Kevin Callan hit out at those behind the blaze, saying it "was nothing short of arson".

"This act has seriously damaged a section of our local infrastructure which is enjoyed by locals and tourists and would be a key part of the upcoming Fleadh in allowing visitors enter the Boyne Valley," he told RTE.

"I have seen the extent of the damage which has been done and I am now going to make contact with Meath County Council to see if the section can be repaired by August, even if temporarily.

"The council should not have to be dealing with this at all.

"I am also getting in touch with the EPA (the Republic's Environmental Protection Agency) to check that no damage has been caused by smoke to the island in the centre of the river, which is a special area of ecological conservation."

Irish Labour senator Ged Nash also condemned the vandalism at the walkway.

He posted on Twitter: "Completely sickened by the act of naked, wanton vandalism that has destroyed our beloved boardwalk at Oldbridge."

Garda confirmed it was treating the incident as criminal damage. It said: "Gardai in Laytown are investigating criminal damage by fire to a boardwalk on River Boyne at Oldbridge, Drogheda.

"It was reported on the evening of July 26, 2018, a number of units from the fire brigade attended. Investigations are ongoing."

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