Northern Ireland news

Arrests over arson attack on Belfast Multi-Cultural Association

Damage caused by an arson attack on the Belfast Multi-Cultural Association building on Donegall Pass last month

TWO men have been questioned in connection with an arson attack on a multi-cultural centre.

It took more than 50 firefighters to control the blaze on January 14 at the Belfast Multi-Cultural Association building on Donegall Pass.

While no-one was injured, volunteers making up food parcels for vulnerable and homeless people had been working in the building shortly before the attack.

Detectives today arrested two men, aged 42 and 49, and searched a house in south Belfast.

A 40-year-old man was also arrested in relation to a previous incident of criminal damage to the building, reported to police in October last year.

All three are being questioned at Musgrave Police Station.

A fundraiser set up after the arson attack has so far raised more than £70,000, having initially set a target of £10,000.

Detective Inspector Rachel Miskelly said: “While our investigation is ongoing, we are continuing to appeal for information about the arson incident, which is being treated as a hate crime.

“The fire, which resulted in serious damage to the building, is unacceptable and we are working tirelessly to identify those responsible and put them before the courts."

He added that Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 to anyone providing information which leads to an arrest and conviction.

It can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or information can be given to detectives directly on 101 or at www.psni.police.uk/makeareport.

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Northern Ireland news