PA finds new Belfast home after burglars burn down offices

The Press Association Ireland has found new offices in Belfast after the fire that destroyed its headquarters in the city last month.

Within four weeks of the fire, new offices have been found and made fully operational at the Scottish Provident Building at 7 Donegall Square West overlooking the grounds of City Hall.

Police said the fire, which broke out in the reception area of a firm of solicitors on the third floor of Queen’s Building, Royal Avenue, was started deliberately by burglars who stole mobile telephones and laptop computers.

The blaze quickly spread to the top floor where the PA offices were based and once the roof collapsed fire chiefs said there was no chance of saving the building. Following the blaze, Belfast Telegraph editor Edmund Curran offered PA desk space at the newspaper.

PA Ireland editor Deric Henderson said: “That we were able to maintain our round-the-clock service is a tribute to PA’s resilience to meet all sorts of challenges.”

` In a letter to Henderson, Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was shocked by the fire. He added: “As I know, the PA plays an important part in the community of Northern Ireland. It’s very sad this should have happened, but I know you won’t be deterred.”

By Jon Slattery

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