Gardaí in attendance at the Centrepoint complex last week where portacabins to the rear of the building went on fire
The two recent fires at the derelict Centrepoint shopping centre in Portlaoise, Laois may have been 'mindless vandalism' says the Garda Chief.
Chief Supt John Scanlan said they are “doing their best” for the area, an iconic 1970's shopping centre on the Mountrath Road that is vacant since 2006.
He said that the fires are being investigated, responding to a question by a local councillor this week.
“That’s under investigation and I can’t really go much further than that. It is a derelict site, it is problematic, and I know the council and others are endeavoring to do something about it.
“Some of these fires are more a product of mindless vandalism by individuals who probably are not fully realising the impact of what they are doing, in their anti social behaviour ultimately leading to fires and large fires. But we are actively policing this environment,” he said.
He was responding to Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley at the Joint Policing Committee meeting on April 13.
She had asked if there was progress on the investigations into the fires causing criminal damage, noting the asbestos roof and residents concerns at two fires lit so close together in time.
Latest crime figures for October to December 2020 show a 24% drop in criminal damage not by fire from 94 to 71 crimes, but a 50% rise in criminal damage by fire from two to three cases, compared to the same period in 2019.