Wednesday 26 October 2016

Faulty light fitting to blame as Clonsilla church gutted in fire

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (centre) surveys the fire damage Picture: Mark Condren
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (centre) surveys the fire damage Picture: Mark Condren
The scene at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which was destroyed by fire (Mark Condren)

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has lent his support to a parishioners of north Dublin church which was gutted by a massive fire.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, on Huntstown Way in Clonsilla, suffered serious damage following the blaze.

Parish representatives now face the cost of a major clean-up and refurbishment as the building remains too unstable to enter.

Archbishop Martin visited the site of the fire with local parish priests and gardai to survey damage yesterday.

In a statement, he expressed his solidarity with the priests and parishioners and called it "a very sad day for all".

The fire is believed to have been sparked by a light fitting at the rear of the church at around 1.30am on Thursday.

Local parish priest Fr George Begley said he was at the scene of the fire once he heard the alarms going off.

While Fr Begley said fire services had rushed to the scene, they were unable to prevent the blaze taking hold.

"A lot of the roof has caved in at one part of the church," he told the Herald.

"It's not safe to go in to see the full extent of the damage."

"It's a terrible thing to go through, but we are just happy that no one died or was injured in the fire," he added.

Mass is normally held in the church twice during weekdays and twice at weekends.

The parish office is now making arrangements for masses to be said elsewhere.


Asked about how much the cost of refurbishment could rise to, Fr Begley said he had "no idea".

"Thank God we have insurance," he said.

"We'll be meeting with the insurance companies to see how much the actual cost will be."

Fr Begley also thanked members of the local community in Clonsilla for their support following the blaze.

"People have been very supportive," he said.

"Everyone seems to have come out of the woodwork to help us.

"We have had a lot of people offering to help us in any way that they can," he added.

It is not yet known how much parish representatives will have to resort to fundraising to help cover the eventual costs, or how long the building will be out of action.

The area has been sealed off for a garda investigation.

However, the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

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