STAFF at the Model School have appealed to young people to keep out of the school grounds after vandals set a fire in a play area last Thursday evening, destroying a picnic area behind the newly built canteen.
The estimated cost of the damage is as yet unknown.
It’s thought that the area caught fire immediately producing heavy smoke and high flames due to the fact that it was set near a picnic table made from recycled plastic. It’s also believed that the arsonists dragged bins to the picnic area before setting them on fire.
Vice principal, Mrs. Donna O’Kane, said the school was thankful that the new canteen, which was opened just last year, wasn’t damaged in the fire.
“I would appeal for people just to have sense and stay away from the school grounds altogether,” she said. “Someone messaged me to say that the school was on fire and I rushed down but, thankfully, the Fire Brigade already had it under control by then. I assume that someone from the area saw the fire and made the call as the school can be easily seen from Clarendon Manor or from the houses at the back of Nicholson Square.
“The fire damaged the wooden play park at the back of the school but luckily it didn’t reach the canteen which the school had waited so long for.
“The police also attended and they are reviewing CCTV footage from the evening but I would just appeal to parents to know where there kids are and for people to stay away from our school.”
Independent Councillor, Darren O’Reilly, also attended the blaze and again appealed for young people to keep out from the school grounds. But the councillor who has been working with children from the area over the summer period said that in general it was the older teenagers and young adults who had been causing trouble in the area.
“The recent trouble at Baldrick’s Steps was caused by older teenagers up to their early 20’s,” he claimed.
“It used to be that people of that age went to the bar but now it’s so expensive, they can’t afford it.
Colr. O’Reilly added that laneways in the Rosemount area are now being frequented by street drinkers.
“I was called to the ‘Zig Zag’ area last week about rubbish being dumped and saw four or five men in their 40’s and 50’s standing drinking. Basically I’m saying that the problems in the Rosemount area aren’t always caused by younger people. We have been working with them in summer schemes over the last number of weeks and it’s not fair to always blame them.”