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GARDAI PROBE ARTANE SCHOOL ARSON ATTACK; Threats by past pupils investigated.

GARDAI have said that the fire which gutted the former Artane Boys Industrial School yesterday was arson.

They are investigating whether the blaze at St David's primary school was started by an ex-pupil.

The former Christian Brothers' school has become notorious for the physical and sexual abuse which took place there for over 30 years.

The main part of the industrial school was demolished some years ago but primary and secondary schools have remained in operation.

And according to garda sources, there have been a number of threats to burn down the school from past pupils.

The massive fire swept through the building in Kilmore Road, Artane early yesterday morning.

Ten Dublin Fire Brigade engines were called to fight the blaze shortly after 3am.

They managed to dampen it but shortly after 5am it caught grip and began to spread again.

An ambulance was on the scene but nobody was injured.

However, extensive damage was caused to the rear of the building and the roof was destroyed.

Garda forensic experts were this morning examining the scene but investigating gardai said that it was almost certainly arson.

A senior detective involved in the sex abuse investigation said: "There have been a number of threats from former inmates of the school to burn it down.

"Some of the people who went to Artane came out of there pretty disturbed and many would be capable of such an act."

The threats came after it emerged that many of the former Christian Brothers and lay teachers would not face charges.

The Irish Mirror revealed last year that the Director of Public Prosecutions told gardai that they should only prosecute charges of alleged sexual abuse and actual bodily harm.

Allegations of common assault would not be pursued.

More than 300 boys have claimed they were abused at the Dublin industrial school.

The investigation is the biggest into child abuse in the history of the state.
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Author:Lee, John
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2000
Words:320
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