Anger over arson attack on property being refurbished

by Rachel Darcy

Residents in Ballymun have said they are horrified that a home recently acquired by the council has been set on fire, despite lying dormant for years.

The home at Oldtown was set on fire last week, but the flames were extinguished before more damage could be caused to the building or adjoining properties.

Dublin City Council recently took control of the property – one of several in the area that it acquired – which had been vacant for a number of years.

It was expected that the dwellings would be used for social housing once renovations and other works had been completed.

Images of the damage caused were shared by Cllr Noeleen Reilly (Ind) on social media, with locals in the north Dublin suburb saying that it was an “absolute disgrace” to see the house so badly damaged, when so many people are without homes in Dublin.

Ashling Poole commented on Cllr Reilly’s Facebook post, saying: “That’s disgraceful. Lying vacant years and not touched. [As] soon as work begins on them there [sic] vandalised.”

Wayne Cullen said that the people living next door had to be evacuated in the early morning as a result of the fire.

“Absolutely disgusting. The young family, who are on the housing list countless years … living next door had to be evacuated in the early hours of the morning, kids are traumatised,” he posted.

Speaking to Dublin Gazette, Cllr Reilly said: “It is really disappointing that someone would think it is ok to burn down a home when so many people are homeless.

“It is not acceptable and had the fire spread into the adjoining properties, it could have caused a serious threat to life.”

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said that incidents like these are rare and are taken seriously. They said: “A vacant council-owned property was recently the subject of suspected arson.

“This incident is being investigated by An Garda Siochana. Incidents of this nature are very rare and the council works constructively with its contractors and its own staff to prioritise the safety of people carrying out refurbishments.”

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