A BUSY primary school in a seaside town was severely damaged following an arson attack, the Herald can reveal.
Gardai are investigating after thugs attempted to torch the school in the early hours of Saturday morning -- causing thousands of euro worth of damage.
Local families in Greystones, Co Wicklow, were on high alert this week after a number of buildings were targeted in the town, including the school.
Our pictures show the serious damage done to Delgany National School following the arson attack, which happened just before 8am on Saturday.
Gardai confirmed to the Herald today that an investigation was under way into the cause of the blaze.
Flames significantly damaged one of the classrooms, while all the other rooms in the building were damaged by smoke.
Firefighters from Bray and Greystones firestations attended the scene and extinguished the blaze within minutes. Sources told the Herald that the blaze "showed all the signs of an attempted arson attack".
"The damage could have been far worse and thankfully the fire was started when no children or staff were in the school," a source explained.
"However, it's going to take significant work to get the classes in order for when the children come back off their Easter break in two weeks time."
Local rector Rev Nigel Waugh told the Herald that "thousands of euro" worth of damage was caused by the fire.
"We are just thankful nobody was hurt. It is particularly saddening as this is a much-loved school in an area which experiences very little crime.
"We would of course appeal to anybody with information to contact gardai."
The incident was followed by a number of reports of vandalism in parts of North Wicklow over the weekend.
Local Fianna Fail councillor Ciaran Hayden described the incident in the school as "callous".
"It's incredible to think somebody would consider torching a primary school.
"I condemn the act completely and hope gardai catch the culprits," he told the Herald.
"We are talking about a school, children had just been in the building the day previous. Thank God nobody was there at the time," he added.
Gardai are appealing to anybody with information to contact Greystones Garda Station on 01 666 5800.