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The fire on Thorncastle Street, Ringsend Dublin Fire Brigade/X

Investigation into fire at Dublin pub which was due to house homeless families

The fire occurred shortly before 2am on Thorncastle Street in Ringsend.

LAST UPDATE | 31 Dec 2023

GARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING after a fire broke out overnight at a vacant pub and guesthouse in Ringsend, Dublin which had been due to house families experiencing homelessness. 

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has confirmed it had planned to used to property “for emergency accommodation for families”. 

“We have a number of families who are currently homeless and seeking accommodation in the area so it is very disappointing,” the DRHE said in a statement today. 

“Families who experience homelessness are like any other; some are working, all are trying to juggle schools and busy lives as well as looking for somewhere to rent,” it said. 

“If we cannot open facilities, there is a risk that families will not have access to basic shelter. The DRHE has no homeless facilities in the area and it could not be said to be overburdened.” 

There had been several anti-immigration protests in the area in recent months in response to rumours that the building would be used to house refugees.

In response, the Department of Integration said in mid-December that the International Protection Accommodation Service “has not received any proposal for this property and therefore has neither considered nor examined this property for use”. The Department issued the same statement today.

There are some anti-immigration accounts on X, formerly Twitter, celebrating that the building had been burned down, believing that it would house migrants.

The fire occurred shortly before 2am on Thorncastle Street. 

Gardaí and Dublin Fire Brigade, including six fire engines, attended the scene and the fire was brought under control by firefighters. 

There has been no reports of anyone injured in the incident. 

The scene is preserved for a forensic examination this morning.

Gardaí have said enquiries are ongoing. 

Taoiseach ‘concerned’

In a statement this afternoon, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expressed concern about the fire, but emphasised that the cause was still under investigation by gardaí. He said he was relieved that there were no injuries.

“The incident in Ringsend is under investigation by An Garda Siochana, which is doing everything it can to determine the cause of the fire,” Varadkar said.

“If this was the result of a deliberate act, all efforts will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Anyone with information should contact the Gardaí. The premises was intended for use as emergency accommodation for families.”

Justice Minister Helen McEntee reiterated the Taoiseach’s comments, saying: “If this was the result of a deliberate act, which has not yet been established, the perpetrators will be brought to justice. 

“Arson is a very serious crime which carries heavy prison sentences. No one has the right to cause damage to property, to cause fear or to threaten public order,” McEntee said. 

She said that Gardaí are doing “everything possible” to determine the cause of the fire and encouraged anyone with any information related to the incident to contact them.

Speaking to The Journal this morning, local Green Party Councillor Claire Byrne said: “I think it’s incredibly disappointing that this building has now been put out of reach for those families who are in desperate need for accommodation. 

“Dublin Fire Brigade and Dublin City Council have done a great job at keeping the fire under control and keeping the people of Ringsend safe. 

“I think the most important thing is that regardless of the circumstances, we now have a building that was being redeveloped for homeless families that is now going to be put out of reach for a considerable amount time.”

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan for Dublin Bay South posted on X and said: “This is terrible news about a building that was to be used as a family hub for homeless people. Thanks to @DubFireBrigade for ensuring no one in Ringsend was hurt.”