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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
School damaged in malicious fire
School hall
The stage was one of the worst affected areas of the school hall
A sports hall has been severely damaged in a malicious fire at a school in north Belfast, police have said.

Fire crews were called to Saint Mary's Primary School on the Shore Road, Greencastle, at about 0130 BST on Tuesday.

Four fire appliances were involved in fighting the fire. It took two hours to bring the blaze under control.

Martin Cassidy from the Fire and Rescue Service said the fire broke out in the sports hall and spread to the roof.

"At this stage, the indications are that the fire was started deliberately," he said.

"It is very sad to see that young children's places of education are being targeted in this way,"

Fr Curran
Parish Priest Fr Colm Curran said the fire was horrendous

Parish priest Fr Colm Curran said he was alerted to the fire by the caretaker.

"It was most certainly a shock but I am delighted that there were no children there," he said.

Fr Curran said the fire was "horrendous" and the stage area of the hall had been badly damaged in the flames, but at least no-one was hurt.

"I don't know the extent of the damage, we will have to wait for the structural engineers," he said.

SDLP councillor Pat Convery said the attack was a worrying development.

"Over the past weekend there has been attacks on property and now we have this attack on the school," he said.

"It doesn't help build community relations, but we have to continue to try and we also have to ensure that we do everything possible to bring the criminals responsible to justice."

See the damage caused by the fire

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