Dolans all set to start rebuilding

The destruction at Seans Dolans (1907SL05)
The destruction at Seans Dolans (1907SL05)

Work is expected to commence on the refurbishment of Sean Dolan’s GAC soon. The club’s facilities were destroyed by fire in 2011.

A meeting will be held between the club, The Derry GAA Board, Ulster Council and Croke Park officials next Monday to discuss how the project moves forward.

It is understood a number of funding applications are also pending.

These would see the further development of the site as resource for the young people of the area, including it is hoped, a second playing pitch.

Danny Cassidy of Dolans stated: “Without our facilities the club have found it hard to sustain junior and senior football. We’ve lost players and four underage teams since the fire. However hopefully we can start to rejuvenate the club, starting with the playing surface in December.

“There are challenges and questions to be asked of the players, coaches and club in terms of how we get back to the level we were operating at before the arson attack.

“It is equally important to stress that those people deserve credit for hanging in there as the club attempted to recover from the fire.

“We would like to thank the County Board for all their support in the interim period.”

The Creggan club was burned down by arsonists in December 2011.

After the blaze, the club house and changing facilities were destroyed by a sustained campaign of vandalism. The police investigation was widely criticised at the time and the Ombudsman was asked to investigate the circumstance of the fire and the subsequent police inquiry.

Initially police said the cause of the fire was not suspicious.

However CCTV footage revealed a figure moving in the shadows of the bar seconds before the blaze ignited.

The new plans make no provision for a bar on the site.

Following the initial PSNI investigation the Ombudsman was tasked to examine the case.

The investigation was launched at the request of the Chief Constable days after the Creggan Gaelic club was attacked.

When asked when that the report was due, a spokesperson for the Police Ombudsman’s Office simply described their investigation as “well advanced.”

While the spokesperson remained tightlipped on a release date, the report is expected in the short term.