Arson attack at school just months after €400k refit
A state-of-the-art Dublin primary school came close to destruction following an arson attack.
Vandals set fire to furniture behind Saint Ultan's primary school in Cherry Orchard causing damage to the brand new building.
Flames and smoke from the blaze affected the exterior of a new classroom extension causing thousands of euro worth of damage.
Classrooms in the new building, which was opened in September, also suffered smoke damage.
Local residents along Cherry Orchard Avenue raised the alarm and Dublin Fire Brigade arrived at the scene within 10 minutes on Sunday last.
School principal Ena Morley said the whole community was "shocked and dismayed" by the arson attack.
"This beautiful new extension costing €400,000 and opened last September could have been destroyed along with equipment and resources that the parents and families had worked so hard to fundraise for," said the head teacher.
"Thankfully, the major damage was not internal and with all the staff helping out - we were able to get classes back up and running."
Ms Morely was very grateful to locals who called emergency services.
"Thanks to the quick action from residents, the fire brigade arrived without delay and contained the fire," she said.
The swift response saved the classrooms and was successful in "preventing the spread into the main part of the building," she said.
The aftermath of the fire caused disruption for teachers and pupils as they were unable to turn on lights in classrooms which had smoke damage.
The principal said it was devastating for staff and pupils that the fire had been started in such close proximity to the building. There were major concerns for the safety of children and equipment, she added.