Condemnation following Rooskey arson attack




Paradub expected to press ahead with purchase


There has been widespread condemnation following last Thursday night’s suspected arson attack at the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey, which had been earmarked as an asylum seeker reception centre in recent months.

  It is believed two people broke into the premises between 7 and 8 pm and attempted to spread flammable liquid in the reception area. A security guard raised the alarm shortly before 8 pm. No-one was injured in the incident. A technical examination was subsequently carried out at the scene and Gardaí have this week renewed their appeal for witnesses.

  Speaking in Ethiopia last Friday, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the incident as “completely unacceptable” and said that hostility to migrants doesn’t represent Ireland.

  “It’s important that we not be dismissive of people who have concerns about migration. Migration is a good thing, Ireland has benefited enormously from migration, in my view. Migrants help run our public service, they make our economy stronger, but it does need to be managed,” the Taoiseach said.

  Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he was “deeply concerned” following the incident, adding that it was “too early” to say when the hotel would be ready to accept migrants.

  “The hotel had recently contracted with my department to provide accommodation for 80 asylum seekers who have come to our country to seek protection, many of whom have experienced conflict and trauma and are vulnerable.

  “The final preparations were being made in the hotel for their arrival. Thankfully, there were no residents in situ when the fire broke out,” he said.

  Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy slammed the incident but criticised the Government and the Justice Department for what he described as “an extremely poor process of consultation and engagement with the community of Rooskey”.

  Deputy Murphy added: “The Government’s approach of pushing refugees and asylum seekers into small towns around rural Ireland is simply not working. Many of these small rural towns are already on their knees and the necessary infrastructure from a transport, educational and health aspect are just not in place and the Government needs to take responsibility for the lack of judgement in relation to this whole approach,” he said.

  Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny described the incident as “very alarming” and said that arson attacks, threats or racism had no place in Rooskey.

  “The direct provision model is not a good model for the taxpayer or the unfortunate refugees seeking asylum.

  “The decent people of Rooskey and surrounding areas are generous and welcoming people and would not want to be associated with this type of behaviour or racist agenda,” he said.

  Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said the entire community of Rooskey condemned the attack but that concerns regarding the use of the hotel had been raised recently.

  “Genuine concerns had been highlighted in recent weeks that the area itself and the hotel would not be suitable for those vulnerable people due to a lack of primary services. But one thing needs to be made very clear, the community of Rooskey would never condone last week’s suspected actions,” he said before adding that he hoped the potential investors would “push ahead” with their plans for a hotel.

  Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan said he would work with stakeholders to ensure “the best outcome” for the future of the building and praised the quick actions of the emergency services.

  It is believed that no permanent damage was done to the hotel and a source this week confirmed that the incident will not deter prospective new owners of the hotel, Paradub Ltd., in their efforts to finalise their purchase of the premises as soon as possible.

  Investigations are ongoing and anyone with information regarding the fire on Thursday, January 10th is asked to contact Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station on 071-9650510.