Dublin

| 13.3°C Dublin

Full extent of arson attack damage to Freemasons’ Hall ‘will take weeks to assess’

Close

Gardai and firefighters at the scene of the fire at the Freemasons' Hall on Molesworth Street on New Year’s Eve. Pic: Damien Storan

Gardai and firefighters at the scene of the fire at the Freemasons' Hall on Molesworth Street on New Year’s Eve. Pic: Damien Storan

The entrance to the Freemasons' Hall is boarded up after the fire. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The entrance to the Freemasons' Hall is boarded up after the fire. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The historic Freemasons' Hall on Molesworth Street suffered smoke and water damage in the suspected arson attack. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The historic Freemasons' Hall on Molesworth Street suffered smoke and water damage in the suspected arson attack. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

/

Gardai and firefighters at the scene of the fire at the Freemasons' Hall on Molesworth Street on New Year’s Eve. Pic: Damien Storan

It will be weeks before the full cost of damage to the Freemasons’ Hall in Dublin can be determined after it was targeted in a suspected arson attack on New Year’s Eve.

It’s reported the incident may be linked to anti-vaccination graffiti discovered on the footpath outside the landmark building on Molesworth Street, the headquarters of Freemasonry in Ireland since 1869.

Prior to the fire starting, eyewitnesses reported an intruder entering the library and café area of the historic hall after breaking a window at 5.17pm on Friday, December 31.

Dublin Fire Brigade received a call at 5.40pm and extinguished the blaze shortly after arriving at the scene.

A spokesperson said the damage had been contained to one area of the building, which was sealed off for technical examination.

A man in his 30s was later taken to St James’s Hospital with serious spinal injuries after he fell from a window to the basement below.

It’s thought the main fire was started in the library and that the arsonist may have set a Christmas tree and curtains alight as he was leaving. Gardaí are understood to be following a definite line of inquiry.

Philip Daley, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, told Independent.ie their immediate priority will be assessing damage to books stored in the library, located on the ground floor.

The two upper floors were both affected by smoke, while there was water damage to the basement area and a number of paintings were “lost”, he said.

Mr Daley said he was “shocked” by the incident and described the suspected motive behind the attack as “ridiculous”.

Dublin Eye Newsletter

Dublin news for Dubs everywhere. Find out what’s going on in the nation’s capital. Issued every Friday.

This field is required

He described the Freemasons’ Hall as an important part of Dublin’s heritage and said he was thankful the building had largely been saved and could be repaired.

“It will be a number of weeks before we have a clear picture of the cost of the damage,” he said. “We are currently working with insurance assessors to establish this.”

Gardaí at Pearse Street are continuing to investigate an incident of burglary and criminal damage and have appealed to the public for information or dashcam footage.


Privacy