It is possible more than one person was responsible for blaze at Blarney Garda Station, which was spotted by a local security man shortly after 5am yesterday.
The front door was smashed in and the culprits lit a number of fires on both floors of the station, which caused substantial damage to the property.
The Office of Public Works was yesterday trying to find alternative accommodation for the 16 gardaí who worked in the station. It is believed it could take up to 12 months before the damaged station is rebuilt.
Superintendent Con Cadogan, who is leading the investigation, said forensic experts were carrying out a thorough examination of the scene.
“This is not only an attack against the gardaí, but the local community and democracy. I know the law-abiding people of Blarney are behind us 100%,” he said.
Detectives were examining CCTV footage taken in town in the hope of identifying those responsible for the arson attack.
They also carried out house-to-house inquiries in the area. Supt Cadogan said several local people had already contacted gardaí with information.
“We have received a number of calls and we thank people for that. We want to hear from anybody who saw anything in the area, no matter how insignificant it might appear to them,” Supt Cadogan said.
He said he was confident that co-operation from the public would enable gardaí to catch the culprits.
“We are keeping an open mind on the motive, but obviously it is somebody with a grudge against the gardaí,” the superintendent said.
Former lord mayor of Cork, Councillor Joe O’Callaghan, said the law-abiding people of Blarney were “absolutely outraged and disgusted” by what had happened.
Mr O’Callaghan, who lives just a few yards from the Garda station, said the gardaí and local people wouldn’t be intimidated by such crimes.
He urged anybody with information about the arsonists to inform the gardaí.
The station was bombed and set fire to by the IRA in June 1920.
The Department of Justice rents the building from the owner of Blarney Castle, Sir Charles Coulthurst.