Kids lucky to escape as raiders ram a truck into family centre
Hundreds of families in Dublin have been left without a much-needed child and family service after burglars rammed a truck through the building's front door.
Gardai are investigating the ram raid at the Deansrath Family Centre in Clondalkin, which happened at around 7.30am on Monday.
The centre's chief executive said it was lucky that nobody was injured, with children using the facility and staff usually arriving at the time of the break-in.
The centre provides a wide range of services for hundreds of families including family support, bereavement counselling and help for children with special educational needs.
While nothing was taken, the services are now in jeopardy after significant structural damage was caused to the building as a result of the ram raid.
Deansrath Family Centre chief executive Siobhan Feehan said the attack on the building had led to the HSE declaring it unsafe and staff were now desperately searching for alternative locations.
The organisation had already been fundraising for a new centre before Monday morning's incident and Ms Feehan said those funds would now definitely be needed.
"The attack has come as a terrible shock to all of the staff and families who use the centre. We have never experienced any incident like this in the 20-odd years we have been here in Clondalkin," she said.
"Luckily nobody was hurt as at 7.30 in the morning when the truck rammed the centre children would have been coming here looking for their breakfast.
"We were already looking at fundraising for a new centre as we are at full capacity in Deansrath but we will certainly be needing a new one now."
Ms Feehan added that because the centre caters for the local area, it is not possible to relocate to another part of the city and that a new building must be accessible to the local community.
After the ram raid, the HSE's engineering department declared the building unsafe, with significant damage caused to the walls and roof which is still being fully assessed.
Gardai confirmed that they were investigating a burglary that happened on St Cuthberts Road, Clondalkin, at around 7.30am on Monday.
"Nothing was taken from the premises, although there was significant damage caused to the building," a garda spokesman told the Herald.
"No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing," he added.