GARDAÍ have appealed to anyone who may have witnessed an arson attack on a derelict pub in Dublin to come forward.
Officers launched a witness appeal yesterday afternoon as part of their investigation into a blaze that occurred at the vacant Shipwright pub in Dublin city in the early hours of Sunday, December 31.
The Dublin Fire Brigade was called to the site of the pub on Thorncastle Street in Ringsend at around 2am that morning.
Six units attended the scene and the blaze was brought under control around three hours later.
There were no reports of any injuries, but the scene was preserved by gardaí for a forensic examination.
Yesterday the police force confirmed that they are investigating the incident as a possible arson attack.
In a statement they confirmed that the probe is being led by a Senior Investigating Officer and that an incident room has been established at Irishtown Garda Station.
"Any person, including road users and pedestrians, who were in the vicinity of Thorncastle Street between 1am and 2.30am and who observed any unusual activity is asked to contact investigating Gardaí,” they said.
"Any road users or pedestrians who were travelling in the Ringsend area during this time and who may have camera footage (including dash cam) is asked to make this available to Gardaí.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact Irishtown Garda Station 01 666 9600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.”
It has also been confirmed that the derelict building had been earmarked to house homeless families in the city.
Rumours had previously circulated claiming the building was set to house refugees and asylum seekers.
"An Garda Síochána is aware of a significant volume of misinformation, disinformation and rumour in relation to the use or proposed use of the building," the police force added.
Expressing his concerns over the incident, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that the building had been “intended for use as emergency accommodation for families”.
“The incident in Ringsend is under investigation by An Garda Síochána, which is doing everything it can to determine the cause of the fire,” he said.
“If this was the result of a deliberate act, all efforts will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice. Anyone with information should contact the Gardai.”
He added: “The premises was intended for use as emergency accommodation for families.”
Justice Minister Helen McEntee has also spoken out about the blaze.
“The incident in Ringsend is currently under investigation by An Garda Síochána," she said.
“If this was the result of a deliberate act, which has not yet been established, the perpetrators will be brought to justice.”
She added: "Arson is a very serious crime which carries heavy prison sentences. No one has the right to cause damage to property, to cause fear or to threaten public order.
"An Garda Síochána are doing everything possible to determine the cause of the fire.
“I would encourage anyone with any information in relation to the incident to contact An Garda Síochána."
Gardaí have said that the "arson incident" caused "substantial damage" to the property.