News Irish News

Saturday 17 November 2018

'We could have been reporting a tragedy' - Gardai investigate fire at community centre for elderly people

The damage to the roof and (r) Cllr. Ruairi O’Murchu and Andrea Connolly from Cuidigh Linn
The damage to the roof and (r) Cllr. Ruairi O’Murchu and Andrea Connolly from Cuidigh Linn

Olivia Ryan

Gardai are investigating a fire at a service provider for elderly people in Dundalk that a local Sinn Féin councillor says could have led to a 'tragedy'.

The Dundalk-based community service for elderly people Cuidigh Linn suffered a suspected arson attack on their building on March 20.

The fire brigade attended the scene and contained it to the roof of the building, preventing any damage to the interior.

Andrea Connolly, who runs the Muirhevnamor based service told The Argus she was 'really shocked' to see the damage to the roof of the premises but says they won't be deterred from providing vital supports to the community.

Damage to the roof of the premises of Cuidigh Linn
Damage to the roof of the premises of Cuidigh Linn

"It was around 10.20p.m on Tuesday last week when we were alerted the damage," she told the paper. "We had only moved into the building at Park One in January, so it was really shocking."

Andrea said they had just received a grant from the council to buy some new equipment, which was bring stored inside.

"I panicked as I thought the equipment was damaged, but thankfully it was okay, and we have been able to keep the building open and keep operating."

She explained that a lot of older people who rely on Cuidigh Linn were concerned that the attack might impact on services, but Andrea added they were determined it would not.

Louth County Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú also condemned the suspected arson attack which he says was 'a disgraceful attack on an organisation offering services to the elderly.'

Cllr Ó Murchú said "Cuidigh Linn is a group who provide necessary services to elderly people in Dundalk and the surrounding region. They rent this premises from Louth County Council in order to carry out this valuable service. This attack was disgraceful."

Cllr. Ruairi O’Murchu and Andrea Connolly from Cuidigh Linn
Cllr. Ruairi O’Murchu and Andrea Connolly from Cuidigh Linn

He described the incident as "an attack on the entire community. Cuidigh Linn employs ten local people, we could have been reporting a tragedy today or these 10 people could have been out of work."

Gardai told Independent.ie the fire took place at the premises at approximately 10pm on Tuesday, March 20.

Investigations into the blaze are ongoing.

The Argus

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News