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The aftermath of an arson attack on the house in Leixlip, Co Kildare. Sam Boal/RollingNews

Taoiseach fears arson attacks could lead to death or injury as gardaí probe Leixlip fire

Garda Superintendent Georgina Grey said a “major investigation” is now underway into the incident in Leixlip.


TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said he fears the possibility of someone dying in an arson attack as a string of anti-migrant actions escalates.

Gardaí are probing arson attack on a house in Leixlip, Co Kildare have said they are liaising with other garda stations who are investigating similar incidents around the country.

The house on Forest Park, Celbridge Road in Leixlip, was set ablaze on Tuesday night after, according to gardaí, a “significant volume” of misinformation, disinformation and rumours had been shared over its use to house people seeking international protection.

Speaking on Newstalk FM, Vardkar said his “biggest worry” is that someone could get killed or seriously injured in one of the fires, including the risk to security guards or homeless people who may be sleeping in a vacant building.

The Taoiseach said that if someone is burning a building on the basis that someone of a different nationality or race may be accommodated there, that is a “very clear hate crime to me” and that “those who encourage or spread disinformation knowing that this could be the consequence of it, that is a hate crime”.

He said he believes a number of different people are behind the attacks, as opposed to only one group travelling around the country to carry them out.

Another recent attack in Brittas, he said, was particularly worrying as it was a “big building” and it appeared that to burn it down would take a “lot of planning and a degree of knowledge”.

Garda investigation

Speaking at Leixlip Garda Station today, Garda Superintendent Georgina Grey said a “major investigation” is now underway into the incident and gardaí are reviewing CCTV in the area.

“We take this very, very seriously. This is a major investigation,” she said.

Grey added that gardaí in Leixlip investigating the attack are linking with other investigation teams, around the country, who are looking into similar incidents that have taken place.

“This is a very, very serious criminal act,” Grey said. “We’re looking at all lines of enquiry.”

Engagement with the property owner has now taken place, who, according to Grey, had previously taken advice from gardaí about protecting their property. Grey did not comment when asked if security had been at the house.

“We had liaised with the property owner, provided crime prevention advice, and indeed got our own crime prevention officer to liaise with the property owner in relation to things that he could do to help prevent any further attacks on the house.”

IMG_7805 Garda Superintendent Georgina Grey speaking to reporters at Leixlip Garda Station today. Lauren Boland / The Journal Lauren Boland / The Journal / The Journal

Yesterday, the Department of Integration said that house was “not under consideration for use”. 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 yesterday that protests had taken place outside the building due to “misinformation”.

Grey told reporters today that gardaí were aware of the “very peaceful” protests that were taking place and had attempted to quell any rumours and misinformation about the use of the property before the attack.

She said local gardaí had been conducting regular patrols of the area once they became aware of the demonstrations at the property and it became a part of their daily patrols.

“Misinformation does not help and especially in a local community, it can create fears amongst the public,” she said.

She asked members of the public to come forward to gardaí if they have concerns or queries about misinformation. 

Additional reporting by Press Association

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Muiris O'Cearbhaill and Lauren Boland