AN ARSON attack on a community centre on the night the Galgorm area was basking in the glory of hosting a successful Irish Open golf tournament has been branded “disgraceful”.
The big golf tournament at Galgorm Castle Golf Club was winding down but around half a mile away vandals were at their work at Gracehill and Galgorm Community Centre.
Now instead of all the positive headlines about the tournament there is sadness in the area that the vandals struck a negative note.
It is understood damage was caused to the inside of the roof area of the building with one source saying it was “lucky” the whole roof did not catch fire.
Bannside TUV representative, Alderman Stewart McDonald, said: “I am disgusted that there was an attack on Galgorm Community Centre last night. Rubbish was pilled against a door and set alight. Roof tiles were also removed.
“I plan to speak to the PSNI about the matter later today and have already contacted council maintenance staff about getting things back into shape.
“The police need to take robust action against vandalism such as this. There is also an onus on parents to be sure they know where their children are and what they are at in the evening.
“This property is utilised by people right across the generations in our area. Very young children go to nursery there. Young people and the young at heart use the facilities for karate or changing after football. The elderly attend variety nights in the building.
“People are united in a mixture of anger and sadness about this. Anyone with information should come forward to the police.”
The building is owned by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council who have been asked for a comment.
Police received a report of the incident at the centre on Raphael Way at around 8.20pm.
Rubbish had been placed up against a door of the building and set alight.
Police said no damage was caused to the building as a result of the fire.
A PSNI spokesperson appealed to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 1782 of 27/09/20.
“An online report can be submitted using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/,” the spokesperson said.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”