Belfast Telegraph

Tir na nOg GAA club suffers £25,000 damage in arson attack

By Rachel Martin

Around £25,000 of damage has been caused to a Co Tyrone GAA club hall in an arson attack.

It happened at the Tir na nOg clubhouse on the Benburb Road in Moy between 10.30pm on Saturday and 8.30am yesterday.

Members were called to the hall yesterday morning where they found their clubhouse in flames and firefighters battling to save the building.

A PSNI spokesperson said it was believed that a window was broken and flammable liquid poured inside and set alight.

Club chairman Peter McKearney said: "There's extensive damage to the ground floor of the premises. Glass has been smashed and there's scorch marks on the walls; pictures of the club's teams and past members have been damaged."

He said that three petrol bombs had been used in the attack and added that in the 100 years the club had been running that this had been the first time the clubhouse had been targeted.

He said: "There's been no vandalism of this nature at the club in living memory. Even through the Troubles we didn't have so much as a brick thrown at the hall."

Mr McKearney blamed a lack of facilities for young people in the area. He continued: "We don't believe it's sectarian, we think it's part of the anti-social problem that exists in the area.

"There's a lack of youth clubs and that's what the football club is trying to combat. That's the sad thing, they are only destroying the facilities that are there. The GAA club is really the only sporting organisation in the Moy so it was used by a lot of people."

A cross-community group had planned to hold a meeting at the centre today and over the weekend the club hosted one of Ireland's biggest youth tournaments. Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott said: "In a truly shared society everyone's rights and cultures must be respected.

"I appeal for anyone with any information that can help in catching those responsible to contact the PSNI. It is important that the culprits face the consequences of their actions."

Sinn Fein MLA Bronwyn McGahan condemned the attack. She said: "It is a worrying development given a recent similar attack on a club in Auger. The GAA has provided a great service to the community through the promotion of sport and culture, especially in rural communities."

Belfast Telegraph


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