27/08/2002

Catholic grammar school damaged by fire

A Catholic grammar school in north Belfast has been damaged in what police believe was a sectarian arson attack earlier this morning.

The alarm was raised when a caretaker at the Dominican College in Fortwilliam Park discovered the fire shortly after midnight. Firefighters were called to the scene but there was extensive damage to a storeroom and kitchen as well as water damage to several other rooms in the school.

A police spokesperson said that the incident bore "all the hallmarks" of a sectarian attack.

SDLP assembly member for North Belfast, Alban Maginness, condemned the attack as a "callous act." He said: "The school has suffered extensive damage and much disruption has been caused at this time when pupils are due to return after the summer holidays.

"This incident follows a summer of violence in the north Belfast area. Innocent people have been subjected to daily turmoil at the hands of mindless thugs. I appeal for anyone with information on this attack to contact the police."

(GMcG)

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