Daylight revealed to locals the scale of the damage to the two businesses

THERE have been renewed calls for a garda station in Donabate after a pharmacy and neighbouring hair salon were destroyed in an overnight arson attack.

Pharmacist Nuala Mac Cinna spoke of her shock after the blaze, which was deliberately started in wheelie bins to the rear of the property, gutted the shop.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “The fire spread so rapidly. When I got here last night the fire was in the roof and spreading very fast. I just feel disbelief.”

Swords gardai are appealing for witnesses who saw anything suspicious between 11.30pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday to come forward.

Local resident Diane Lawson told The Gazette: “Enough is enough. Two businesses, their proprietors and their staff have lost their livelihoods for the foreseeable future.

“Why not reduce the number of councillors and increase the number of gardai and patrol cars in the area?”

The devastating blaze set the tone for a busy Halloween period for firefighters who responded to 501 calls in Dublin between 9am and 11pm on Tuesday alone.

Several units of the fire brigade were called out after a fire near Lusk got out of hand and caused problems for motorists on the M1.

A firefighter suffered a perforated eardrum after a banger was thrown at him while he attended the scene of a massive bonfire in Blanchardstown.

But it’s the peninsula that is counting the cost of serious criminal damage after gardai confirmed the fire was started deliberately and appealed for witnesses.

Ms Mac Cinna said: “Seven people work in the pharmacy. I will try to get back open as soon as possible. The customers are fantastic. I would be here 14 years this Christmas.”

Fire crews from Swords, Kilbarrack, Finglas and Tara Street battled the blaze until 4am on bank holiday Monday as flames engulfed the one-storey building.

Gardai have trawled CCTV footage and conducted door-to-door inquiries. They are asking parents whose children were on sleepovers with friends on Sunday to double-check their movements.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Swords Garda Station at 01 666 4700.