Services for more than 400 people with special needs in north Wicklow and south Dublin have been suspended following a fire at the Lakers facility in Bray.

The overnight fire destroyed the service's fleet of four buses, which were in a garage adjoining the rest of the premises.

The premises cannot be used for members' daily activities because of smoke and water damage.

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The chairperson of the voluntary service, Fergus Finlay, said it appeared the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

Mr Finlay said he could not promise that the centre would be up and running within a fortnight. 

Nobody was using the premises at the time of the blaze and nobody was injured.

A garda forensics expert was gathering evidence when the local TD, Minister for Health Simon Harris, arrived to meet staff and volunteers and to inspect the damage.

The minister said the fire was devastating news for the community in Wicklow and south Dublin.

He supported the Lakers management's urgent appeal for alternative vehicles and venues to allow services to resume as soon as possible.

Mr Harris said he would be reviewing the immediate prospects for the facility in conjunction with the management on Monday.

The nearby Bray Emmett’s GAA club has offered its clubhouse as a temporary home for Lakers while a separate source lent a wheelchair accessible bus.

The Minister of State with special responsibility for disabilities, Finian McGrath, will also attend the meeting. 

Mr McGrath said this was an essential service for the local community and offered his support to users, staff and management. 

"This is an awful tragedy and it is absolutely essential any impact to the service is minimised. I look forward to meeting management next week to discuss these matters." 

Mr Finlay said that if they could organise replacement buses, they could organise venues.

He said he could not yet promise that the service would be open within a fortnight, but they were determined to do their utmost.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Finlay said: "We're out of business now and it's going to be devastating for our members.

"We are of course determined to get back up and running as quickly as possible, and we're going to put out appeals to the local community and service providers around the place for any help we can get with other forms of transport and other venues and so on; just now everyone is in a state of shock."