Ms Ritchie said, “I utterly condemn the wanton destruction and mindless arson at the Old Downe Hospital site last night.
It is crucial those responsible for this crime are made amenable to the law and I would urge anyone with information to make it known to the PSNI.
Now is also the time for the owner of the site to come forward with a development plan for this strategic location. This area was identified as key zone of economic regeneration by the Downpatrick Masterplan.
It is imperative the site owner, together with the Council, Planning Service and instrumental Government bodies work together to provide an economic regeneration plan for the betterment and future development of business, trade and housing in Downpatrick.
I have made urgent and robust representations to the First and Deputy First Minister, Minister for Communities and Chief Executive of the Council outlining the vital need for an implementation plan for this area.”