The Irish government expresses its strong disapproval of the act of setting fire to the hotel designated to accommodate asylum seekers.

A suspected fire attack has destroyed a hotel in County Galway, which was undergoing preparations to accommodate 70 asylum seekers. This incident highlights a disturbing effort to intimidate and create fear.

The Irish government strongly condemned the burning of Ross Lake House hotel in Rosscahill, emphasizing its sinister nature. However, two Fianna Fáil party councillors argued that government policies have led to an excessive number of refugees in Ireland, ultimately driving some individuals to resort to drastic actions. This perspective was once limited to fringe far-right groups.

On Saturday, protesters gathered outside the abandoned hotel, replicating a tactic that has previously prevented the settlement of refugees across Ireland. At 11:35 PM, a fire broke out at the back of the hotel, quickly engulfing the entire property before firefighters extinguished the flames. Fortunately, no one was inside the hotel or injured. The relocation of the 70 male asylum seekers to the hotel was scheduled for Thursday.

Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, emphasized that violence, arson, or vandalism have no justification. Roderic O’Gorman, the minister for integration, described the blaze as “deeply sinister” and dangerous, as it was specifically intended to intimidate individuals seeking international protection in Ireland.

The increase in the number of refugees in recent years has coincided with a housing crisis, leading to increased hostility towards asylum seekers, especially males. Several sporadic arson attacks have targeted accommodation centers, while protests with signs stating “Ireland is full” have blocked roads. In September, a loud rally outside the Dáil briefly trapped lawmakers after a knife attack injured three children and a carer. The attacker, a naturalized Irish citizen, was originally from Algeria.

The government coalition, consisting of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Greens, as well as opposition parties, have asserted that Ireland has a duty to welcome and provide accommodation for refugees. Nonetheless, some backbenchers from the ruling party and independent rural lawmakers have expressed concerns. Two Fianna Fáil councillors from Galway went further in their criticism following the hotel fire.

Séamus Walsh told Galway Bay FM, “If it was a criminal act; what made that criminal act happen? It was the senseless policy of the government. If it was done maliciously, it was absolutely the fear for the safety and wellbeing of their families that drove people to this.” Noel Thomas, his party colleague, stated that Ireland is “flooded” with new arrivals and accused the government of disregarding concerns. He emphasized that if the government continues its current actions, similar incidents will occur more frequently. Thomas attended the protest before the blaze and stressed that it comprised of local people, not extremists.

Nick Henderson, the chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council, expressed great concern over the destruction of the hotel and urged the government to improve its communication regarding the settlement of asylum seekers.

Earlier this month, the government faced an accommodation shortage for asylum seekers, a situation that also occurred during the spring. As a solution, they provided tents, sleeping bags, and additional funds to approximately 200 arrivals who had to find their own accommodations or risk sleeping on the streets.

It is anticipated that numerous anti-immigration candidates will run in local elections next year. Additionally, former mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor has hinted at a possible presidential election campaign focused on limiting immigration and addressing crime issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *