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Posted July 21, 2006 EST

Arsonists Strike 2,500 Times In Ulster In Last Three Years
United Kingdom - As details emerged that a fire which ravaged a Co Armagh beauty spot may have been started deliberately, the Northern Ireland Fire Service last night revealed it has dealt with over 2,500 arson attacks in the last three years. Earlier this week, around 100 firefighters from across Ulster battled a massive fire at Slieve Gullion mountain in south Armagh.

The blaze on Wednesday damaged an area equivalent to three football pitches and a total of 17 appliances were dispatched to bring the flames under control. Last night, Jim McCallum, area commander with the Fire and Rescue Service, said: "There are suspicions that the fire may have been started deliberately.

"Meanwhile, the Fire and Rescue Service has revealed that it has dealt with over 2,500 arson attacks in the past three years - with businesses and homes across Northern Ireland being destroyed at a rate of two per day.

There were 2,538 attacks recorded in three financial years ending April 2006.

And these figures do not include arson attacks such as the one which destroyed Lavin Orange Hall in Co Antrim on July 12 or a Catholic church in Ballycastle which was torched on Tuesday.

Written by Belfast Telegraph

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