Belfast Telegraph

Plans for former Co Armagh primary school in ruins after arson

The burnt out remains of the former Anamar Primary School in Co Armagh
The burnt out remains of the former Anamar Primary School in Co Armagh
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

A fire that ripped through a former Co Armagh primary school is being treated as deliberate by the PSNI.

It was reported to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) at 8am yesterday that the former Anamar Primary School, located between Cullyhanna and Crossmaglen, was on fire.

Sinn Fein councillor Terry Hearty described the blaze as an attack on the community as there had been a public campaign to use the building for community-led initiatives.

One NIFRS appliance from Crossmaglen Fire Station attended the scene on the Kiltybane Road.

The NIFRS said: "The fire had been burning for some time and caused extensive damage to the school.

"The fire was brought under control by 10.16am.

"PSNI were also in attendance. The cause of the fire is under investigation."

Councillor Hearty said that Anamar Primary School had been part of the south Armagh community for years and added that it was an attack on the whole area.

"We wanted to use the school to provide a space to allow the community to tackle issues such as rural and elderly isolation, mental health concerns and provide amenities for local children and parents," he added.

"Those plans have been ruined by this criminal act.

"The anger in the community is palpable.

"Those responsible should be ashamed and must be held accountable."

Police are appealing for anyone with information in relation to the incident to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 369 of 16/08/19.

If someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

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