Bail house targeted in suspected arson attack

September 8, 2014

By Christine Keighery

Local political representatives have described an alleged arson attack on a residential property in the Cloughreagh area as “ugly” and “shocking”.

The blaze, which happened at a bungalow in the area was reported shortly after 11.30pm on Wednesday night.  No one was in the property at the time of the incident and the fire was quickly brought under control by the Fire Service.

Police believe the fire was started deliberately and two men aged 18 and 20, who were arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, were bailed on Friday, pending further enquiries.

Speaking about the incident, Sinn Féin councillor Dáire Hughes said he shared the sense of shock felt by many local residents,

“These local people I have spoken to are deeply shocked about this incident. By all accounts the fire took hold quite quickly,” he said, thanking the fire and emergency services for attending.

SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley described the attack as “an ugly incident” which could have resulted in severe injuries had the property been occupied at the time.

“Thankfully there was no one in the house at the time and the quick response of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service ensured that damage to the house was limited, “ he said.

Asking anyone with information to contact him or the police, he added:  “Cloughreagh is a quiet community where people look out for each other. An incident like this is not in keeping with the ethos of the local area.”

It has been suggested that the property is being used as bail accommodation for offenders and is rented out on a room-by-room basis. Local residents claim the arson attack is the latest in a long line of unsettling incidents and say the house is often the scene of disturbances and ongoing anti-social behaviour.

Enquiries are continuing into the incident and police would ask anyone with information to contact them in Newry on the 101 non-emergency number.