Workers boarding up Rawlton House on Sherrard Street, Dublin today.
rawlton house

Gardaí to probe links between blaze at Dublin building and claims it would house asylum seekers

A Government spokesperson said that Rawlton House was not to be used as a direct provision centre.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 31st 2023, 4:11 PM

GARDAÍ ARE TO examine links between misinformation spread online recently and an arson attack on a building in Dublin’s north inner city yesterday evening, The Journal understands. 

Detectives have launched an investigation into the incident at a derelict building known as Rawlton House on Sherrard Street in the city. 

The building had been earmarked for an apartment development and developers had applied for planning permission.

Emergency services were alerted to the blaze at 5.40pm yesterday. Multiple sources who spoke to The Journal said that a group of people are suspected to have broken into the building in advance of the fire breaking out. 

Gardaí are investigating the theory that it was targeted by a group who believed, erroneously, that the building was to be used as a direct provision centre, sources said. 

Sources said videos from the scene which appeared to depict windows in the building being damaged were accurate. 

A source said that it is suspected structures were destroyed on the inside of the building so that wood could be used to start the fire. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth confirmed that there are no plans to use the building as a direct provision centre. 

“The building is not contracted by the Department,” the spokesperson said.

Dublin Fire Brigade were called to the scene and they successfully extinguished the blaze  and gardaí have since launched an investigation.

There has been disquiet in the general East Wall area near Sherrard Street in regard to the proposed housing of immigrants and asylum seekers in their communities. The protests – which have been taking place since November – blocked roads and traffic at the Port Tunnel

In nearby Fairview there has been a counter demonstration movement with a group holding a protest welcoming refugees under the banner “Northside for All”. 

A garda spokesperson said that the incident was being investigated and appealed for witnesses.

“Gardaí are investigating a suspected criminal damage by fire incident that occurred at approximately 5.40pm at a vacant dwelling in the Sherrard Street area of Dublin 1.

“Local fire services quickly extinguished the fire. No injuries were reported.

“Investigations into this incident are ongoing,” a garda spokesperson said.