06 Jul 2022

Community clean-up organised in response to overnight arson attack on a centre in Derry for people with learning disabilities

Overnight fire at Learning Disability Centre in Derry was started deliberately after the building was broken into, says local MLA

Some of the damage caused during the break-in at the building.

People are being invited to help the clean-up at a Derry centre for people with learning disabilities which was badly damaged in an overnight arson attack.

The blaze at the Learning Disability Centre at Foyle Road caused internal and smoke damage to the building.

The centre only opened last year.

It provides a range of facilities and services in a bid to build the confidence of people with learning disabilities.

Investigations were continuing this morning to establish the cause of the fire.

However, a local MLA has said that the building was broken into last night.

Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan said those who smashed their way into the building then started the fire.

She said: "This centre not only provides activities and programmes for young people and adults with learning disabilities, it's a social economy providing employment.

"The community will be rightly devastated, anyone with any information contact the PSNI and any businesses or groups with camera footage along the Foyle Road should also contact the PSNI."

Police are appealing for information following the attack.

A police spokesperson said: “At around 7:10am, it was reported that entry was gained to a property in the area. Two fires were reported in both the kitchen and under the stairs of the premises. Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service attended and extinguished the fires. No one was inside the property at the time of the incident.

“Enquiries are continuing and at this stage, the incident is being treated as deliberate ignition.

“We would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 350 29/02/20. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."

The community clean-up at the centre will begin at 10am tomorrow morning.

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