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The house on Forest Park, Celbridge Road in Leixlip, was falsely rumoured to be earmarked for refugee accommodation. Sam Boal

Gardaí investigate arson attack at Kildare house that was focus of rumours around refugee housing

The fire broke out at the vacant building on the Celbridge Road, Leixlip, Co Kildare at 1.30am this morning.


DETECTIVES ARE INVESTIGATING an arson attack on a vacant house in Leixlip that happened overnight. 

The building, gardaí say, has been subject “of a significant volume of misinformation, disinformation and rumour in relation to the use or proposed use of the building”.

It is understood that protests have taken place at the house on the Celbridge Road, Leixlip, Co Kildare in recent weeks. 

Social Democrats TD for Kildare North Catherine Murphy told The Journal that protests had taken place outside the building due to “misinformation”.

There were claims by far-right activists on social media that international protection applicants were to be housed at the property. 

“There has been misinformation put out,” said Murphy, “and essentially, there was a protest outside following that misinformation.

“And the misinformation is that this building was never intended to be used for the purpose that people are protesting outside it,” added Murphy.

A spokesperson for the Department of Integration said that house was “not under consideration for use by the Department”.

“The Department condemns all acts of intimidation and criminality committed by the small minority who want to sow division in our society.

“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.

“There can never be justification for such acts, regardless of circumstances or alleged motivation,” the statement said. 

Murphy also told The Journal that a smaller fire took place at the same site last week. 

It is the nineteenth fire linked to anti-migrant protests since 2018 and the second in recent days following a similar incident in Brittas, Co Dublin.

A garda statement said that local fire services and gardaí attended the blaze at 1.30am which was brought under control at a later stage this morning.

“No persons were in the building at the time of the incident. There was substantial damage caused to the property.

“The scene is currently preserved pending a full technical examination.

“An incident room has been established at Leixlip Garda Station and the investigation is being led by a Senior Investigating Officer,” a garda spokesperson said. 

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have information in relation to this incident to contact them.

Particularly anyone “in the vicinity of Celbridge Road and Forest Park between 12.30am and 2.00am and who observed any unusual activity is asked to contact investigating Gardaí”.

The spokesperson added that any information in relation to these incidents to contact An Garda Síochána, either through their local/nearest Garda Station or in confidence to the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.