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Taoiseach Simon Harris

Arson attack on building earmarked for asylum seekers 'idiotic' and 'criminal', says Taoiseach

The fire was quickly brought under control, a spokesperson said, and no injuries were reported.

A BUILDING IN Tallaght, South County Dublin, earmarked for housing families seeking asylum was attacked yesterday.

Gardaí and emergency services were alerted to a fire at St John’s House on High Street late last night.

The fire was quickly brought under control, a garda spokesperson said, and no injuries were reported.

Enquiries about the attack on the vacant property are ongoing, they said.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Taoiseach Simon Harris described the attack as “idiotic, as well as being a disgusting act of criminality”.

“I struggle to comprehend how at a time of constraint in terms of capacity, housing supply and accommodation … that people who profess to be speaking up for people … would do any action to reduce and restrict further supply.”

He added that he will speak with Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman about the possibility of increasing security at such sites.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy was of the same view, saying the targeting of housing for asylum seekers is “not about having more resources for the community”.

“St John’s House isn’t just for housing international protection applicants. There is a Jigsaw young people’s mental health service, there is restaurants there, and it proves that these people who are spreading the hate and these people who are doing the attacks are not about building up communities,” he said.

“All they want to do is spread destruction, spread violence and spread fear.”

He added that “the vast majority” of Tallaght locals will reject the attack and the “hatred” it portrays.

The Department of Integration said the “new accommodation centre for International Protection applicants at the St John’s House, High Street, Tallaght, Dublin 24 will be ready for new arrivals “shortly”. 

“The property is intended for use by families,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

They added that gardaí are “responsible for operational policing matters, and where intimidation or criminal acts have occurred, the Department is precluded from commenting or providing detailed information, as it may prejudice any consequent investigations or court cases”.

Anyone who was in the vicinity of High Street, Tallaght between 10:30pm and 11:30pm on Tuesday night and who observed any unusual activity is asked to contact investigating gardaí.

Any road users or pedestrians who were travelling in the area during this time and who may have camera footage (including dash cam) are asked to make this available to gardaí also.

Anyone with information can contact Tallaght Garda Station 01 666 6000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

Need more clarity and context on how migration is being discussed in Ireland? Check out our new FactCheck Knowledge Bank for essential reads and guides to finding good information online.

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