Jacquie Doherty of the Naiscoil in Creggan surveys the damage.  (1704JB21)
Jacquie Doherty of the Naiscoil in Creggan surveys the damage. (1704JB21)

Staff at an Irish language nursery in Creggan have said they are “sickened “ by copper thieves who caused thousands of pounds of damage to the building at the weekend.

Thieves stole a water tank and copper piping from the Naiscoil na Rinne building at Cromore Gardens in Creggan.

The theft of the piping caused flooding in a number of rooms in the Irish language playschool.

When staff arrived to open the naiscoil yesterday morning after the Easter break they discovered puddles of water in the building.

Carol McNamara from the Naiscoil Na Rinne committee said: “The place has been completely gutted. The water tank and all the copper piping has been taken.

“We’re not sure when this happened but we think it was over the weekend. When we came to open up the naiscoil we walked into puddles of water inches deep. Money was also stolen from the school’s petty cash,” she said.

Ms McNamara said most of the damage was confined to a storeroom but estimated that the total repair bill will run into thousands of pounds.

“Thankfully the playroom where the children spend most of their time was not too badly damaged but the storeroom is completely destroyed. We are in the process of trying to work out how much it will cost to repair the damage but it is likely to run into thousands of pounds and that is money that we simply do not have,” she said.

Creggan Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell, who visited the school yesterday morning, described the incident as an “absolute disgrace.”

“This is ridiculous. This is a community facility dedicated to the promotion of the Irish language in this area and is supported by the local community.

“This is one of many serious incidents we have had at school buildings in the city in recent months where copper, lead, and other metals have been stolen.

“This should not be happening and I would call on anyone with information on this or any of the other incidents to pass it on to the PSNI,” he said.