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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 17 February, 2019
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Anti-racism rally held outside fire-damaged Leitrim hotel earmarked as Direct Provision centre

The hotel was damaged in a suspected arson attack earlier this week.

Around 100 people attended a rally in support of refugees outside the Shannon Key West Hotel
Around 100 people attended a rally in support of refugees outside the Shannon Key West Hotel
Image: https://www.facebook.com/UARIreland/

UP TO 100 people have attended a rally outside a hotel on the Leitrim-Roscommon border which was set to become a Direct Provision centre before being damaged by fire.

The demonstration outside the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey began at around 1pm, and saw a number of speakers condemn the suspected arson attack at the building on Thursday.

Others demanded an end to the Direct Provision system, and called on Ireland to welcome those seeking asylum.

“Why are we wasting our lives hating each other?” said one speaker. “Why can’t we look after each other? If I smile at somebody, what will I lose? I will not lose anything.” 

According to the United Against Racism group, who helped to organise the march, locals in Rooskey were set to welcome the opening of the centre, and are unhappy that they have been associated with the attack on the hotel. 

“We also wish to express our complete solidarity with the vast majority of residents of Rooskey who are horrified by this blatant act of vandalism and racism,” the group said.

“The vast majority of Rooskey’s residents have expressed that they have no issue with asylum seekers or assisting anyone fleeing war and persecution and the town is already an inclusive diverse intercultural town.”

The group also expressed anger at the lack of consultation from the government about the opening of the centre, saying that locals feel extra resources for the town have not been provided to help the accommodate refugees.

Gardaí are investigating the fire at the hotel as a “possible arson attack”, while Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he was “deeply concerned” by the incident.

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