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Dublin Fire Brigade dealing with the fire at Crooksling yesterday Dublin Fire Brigade/X
brittas

Formal Garda examination to be carried out of scene of fire at former nursing home in south Dublin

A number of protests had been held in recent days and weeks at the entrance to the grounds of the former nursing home.

LAST UPDATE | 5 Feb

A TECHNICAL EXAMINATION of the scene will guide the investigation into a fire in a vacant nursing home where anti-migrant protests had recently taken place, according to An Garda Síochána.

Dublin Fire Brigade were called to the scene of the fire at the former St Brigid’s Nursing Home at Crooksling, Brittas, south Dublin at 7am yesterday.

Over 40 firefighters worked through yesterday morning to control the blaze. The scene has now been handed over to gardaí.

A Senior Investigating Officer has been announced to investigate all circumstances of the fire. 

A formal examination of the building will be carried out this morning by an expert engineer to assess its safety.

“Once feasible, a technical examination will be carried out by the DMR South Scenes of Crime unit, assisted by the Garda Technical Bureau. The results will guide the Garda investigation,” gardaí said in a statement last night. 

Gardaí are appealing to anyone with information about the fire to contact them at Tallaght Garda Station on 01 6666000, the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666 111, or any garda station.

Yesterday, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she is “appalled” at what she called an attack on the former nursing home. 

A spokesperson for the Minister said those responsible for the “attack” will be “brought to justice”.

Minister McEntee said she had been assured by gardaí that “they will do everything possible to complete their investigations as quickly as possible”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has also commented on the blaze, saying he was “very concerned to learn about the fire at a former nursing home in Crooksling”.

“In recent weeks there have been disturbing reports of suspected criminal damage at properties around the country. There is never any justification for violence, arson or vandalism in our Republic. Garda investigations are underway into the incident in Crooksling,” he said in a statement.

“Arson is a serious crime punishable by up to ten years in prison. It is deeply ironic that some of those who try to link migration with crime engage in serious criminal activity themselves.”

Protests

Prior to the fire, a number of protests had been held in recent days and weeks at the entrance to the grounds of the former nursing home, amid rumours that it was to be used as accommodation for asylum seekers and International Protection applicants. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said the property was being assessed, but that it had not been contracted to be used as accommodation.

“An assessment of this property had recently begun by DCEDIY with the agreement of the HSE. This process is at initial stages and the property has not been contracted by the Department,” they said.

The spokesperson also condemned any violence or intimidation towards International Protection applicants and said that the incident was “currently under investigation by An Garda Síochána”.

On a number of evenings last week, crowds gathered outside the grounds, with some holding signs that read “Brittas Says No”. 

According to videos and images posted on social media, there was also a tent erected on Friday with a sign that stated: “South Dublin Says Close The Borders”

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Charlie O’Connor yesterday told The Journal that in recent weeks rumours began to circulate in the local community that the building was to be used as accommodation for asylum seekers and people seeking international protection.

There have been a number of high profile protests held in recent months over buildings that had been earmarked for use by asylum seekers.

As well as this, arson attacks on buildings earmarked for use by asylum seekers and international protection applicants have risen significantly in recent years. In the last year in particular, such attacks have shot up.

Far right element

A number of well-known far right figures shared information on the former nursing home and protests on social media in recent weeks.

One account had posted on X, formerly Twitter, that a 24/7 blockade had been set up at the entrance to the nursing home.

In recent weeks people also appeared to film themselves walking through the grounds of the nursing home.

One account on TikTok shared a picture of a DFB tweet of the blaze this morning with celebratory music and a picture of the Irish flag. A number of comments on the video celebrated the fire. 

With reporting by Cormac Fitzgerald and Lauren Boland

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