TWO government ministers have hit out after a Donegal hotel earmarked for use by asylum seekers was allegedly set on fire.
Charlie Flanagan and David Stanton have condemned what the Department of Justice & Equality said was an arson attack at the Caiseal Mara Hotel in Moville.
A man was taken to hospital for treatment following the fire, which broke out at around 4.30am today.
If arson as suspected, this is a poisonous act. It will always be overshadowed by the long history of welcome and support given to people seeking asylum by communities all over Ireland, in the past, today and the future. Hate will never win. #Moville #DirectProvision https://t.co/mAcScgKtGW
— Irish Refugee Council (@IrishRefugeeCo) 25 November 2018
Gardaí in Buncrana have launched an investigation into the fire, which came just days before the building was to be used as a Direct Provision centre for asylum seekers.
It was intended to house around 100 people due to arrive in the next three to four weeks.
“I condemn this attack and those behind it in the strongest possible terms,” said Mr Flanagan, Minister for Justice and Equality.
“This was a despicable incident and could have led to very serious injury.
“I send my best wishes for a full recovery to the injured person and those impacted by the fire.
“I am urging anyone with information with regard to this fire to contact the gardaí.”
Today Lucky and Vukasin went to Moville to engage with Irish people who will be welcoming international protection applicants in the small town's now torched Direct Provision centre. Far right won't win. @masi_asylum @Asylumarchive https://t.co/6ORnkrBYaK pic.twitter.com/9mvX2nl3Pc
— Bulelani Mfaco (@BulelaniMfaco) 25 November 2018
Gardaí said extensive damage was done to the building on Foyle Street.
The injured man, aged in his 50s, was taken to Letterkenny Hospital.
'Not representative of Donegal'
Mr Stanton, Minister of State for Equality and Integration, described the incident as ‘deeply shameful’.
“The hotel is being prepared for accommodation by persons seeking international protection in Ireland,” he said.
“That people would target such a building in this way is deeply shameful.
“This action is not at all representative of the welcome of the overwhelming majority of people both in Donegal and Ireland as a whole.”
Gardaí have appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to contact Buncrana Garda Station on 074 9320540, the Garda Confidential Line or any garda station.