NewsCrime Desk

Arson attack at Dublin school just days before State exams

Blaze: The prefab building at Castleknock Community College after the fire
Blaze: The prefab building at Castleknock Community College after the fire

Gardai are investigating the circumstances surrounding a major blaze at a secondary school in Dublin.

A prefab building Castleknock Community College in Dublin north was completely destroyed in the fire which broke out in the early hours of Monday morning.

At around 3am five Dublin Fire Brigade units were dispatched to the scene and spent around two hours battling the inferno.

Gardai investigating the blaze have not ruled out foul play, but school John Cronin said he suspected the fire was started deliberately.

Officers investigating the fire have appealed to anybody who may have information to come forward. 

The building had been due to be demolished before the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert got under way and had been cleared out recently.

"I imagine somebody threw a match in and it caught on dry wood," said Mr Cronin.

"I think it was just one of those things that the building inspired curiosity and someone thought it was a good idea [to start a fire].

"Thankfully, no damage was done to the main buildings and we have been liaising with local residents in the area," he added.

"The fire services were superb and have been in touch with me since."

It was "unusual" for something like that to happen in the area surrounding the school, the principal added.

Local Independent councillor David McGuinness said that a lot of people in the community were "really disgusted" by the possibility that the fire was the result of an arson attack.

"This is the second fire of this nature we’ve had in Dublin 15 recently, we had a playground set alight in similar circumstances quite recently," said McGuinness.

The local representative said that a resident living in a house beside the school had reported anti-social behaviour there some time before the fire broke out.

However, he claimed that they were told there were no Garda units available to respond at the time.

Gardai in Blanchardstown declined to comment when contacted about these claims by the Herald.