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Asylum Seekers

Donohoe 'confident' gardaí will bring cases forward over recent arson attacks around the country

There have been a number of arson attacks at properties earmarked for asylum seeker accommodation in recent months.

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe has said he is “confidence” gardaí will bring cases forward in relation to a recent spate of arson attacks accommodation linked to asylum seekers around the country.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Donohoe said he knows “the garda stations who are involved in dealing with these issues in the north side of Dublin City Centre and I see their commitment, their professionalism, to bringing to justice those who make these threats”.

The Finance Minister said that “it takes time for the guards to do their work, it take time for them to bring forward cases that they can stand over, and the guards have a track record of being able to do it and I’m confident that they will”.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is fearful that someone will die as a result of arson attacks.

“There are a number of garda investigations underway,” Varadkar said.

“There have been people questioned and searches have been carried out. The gardaí have told me that they anticipate that there will be arrests in relation to arson attacks around the country,” he said. 

“I’ve a real worry that an arson attack might occur in a building and there is somebody inside it. People who are carrying out these attacks just don’t know that for sure, and I’m really fearful that a tragedy like that will happen.”

There have been a number of arson attacks at properties earmarked for the accommodation of refugees and asylum seekers around the country in recent months. 

It was reported on Wednesday that the owner of a building where a fire began after it was earmarked to house 85 Ukrainians has pulled out of the agreement with the Department of Integration over concerns regarding his family’s safety.

Another suspected arson attack occured at a hotel earmarked for asylum seekers in Co Galway in December. A fire broke out at a hotel earmarked for asylum seekers in Rosscahill, Co Galway the following week

A former pub in Ringsend, Dublin on Thorncastle street was lit ablaze in the early hours of New Year’s Eve amid speculation it was going to be used to house immigrants. The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has confirmed it had planned to used to property “for emergency accommodation for families”. 

Speaking today, Donohoe said: “The gardaí can take time, because their work is difficult and demanding, to arrest people and then bring them to court.” 

He said the reason he has “confidence” in the gardaí is “because I have seen the quantity and scale of the work the gardaí have done with my own eyes in dealing with similar issues to this”. 

He said he is “certain” that gardaí “are taking this with the seriousness that it deserves”.

“When I hear talk of the need for communities to take action, I hear some of the far-right language that is being used at the moment, I hear attempts to justify this kind of behaviour, it’s criminal activity, people can get hurt, people can get killed, and we can have people very scared by it,” Donohoe said, adding that “there’s no cause that justifies that”.

RTÉ News reported earlier that gardaí are seriously concerned about the increase in arson attacks on properties linked to accommodating people seeking international protection and are worried about the potential for a copycat effect. 

Speaking at the same press conference as Donohoe today, Minister Simon Harris said: “I think the best way that you reduce the likelihood of so-called copycat attacks … is by people seeing the extraordinary serious consequences of breaching laws in this country.”

“I certainly look forward to the day where we start to see people facing the consequences of those actions,” he said. 

Donohoe, Harris and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien were speaking at a press conference as they unveiled plans to increase the amount of student accommodation available in the country, with plans to build 521 beds for students at UCD and DCU already at tender stage.