AN investigation has been launched following a suspected arson attack on a vacant property in Leixlip, Co Kildare.
Police and the local fire service were called to the six-bedroom home in Celbridge Road in the early hours of yesterday morning (February 7).
“Gardaí were alerted to a fire at a vacant residential property on Celbridge Road at approximately 1:30am and attended the scene,” Gardaí confirmed.
“Local fire services also attended and the fire was brought under control at a later stage in the morning,” they added.
No one was in the building at the time of the incident but “substantial damage was caused to the property” the force confirmed.
Officers have appealed for anyone in the area at the time of the incident to come forward.
They have also confirmed that they are aware of “a significant volume of misinformation, disinformation and rumour in relation to the use or proposed use of the building”.
The attack follows a series of similar incidents in recent weeks where disused properties have been targeted by arsonists after being flagged as potential locations for housing migrants and asylum seeker.
Following the blaze, Catherine Murphy, Social Democrats TD for Kildare North, said the property would not have been eligible to house refugees.
“Residential houses and apartments are not eligible for use. I had that confirmed to me in reply to a parliamentary question,” she said in an interview given at the scene of the fire.
“It surprised me that people were saying that this could be used. I had asked the Department of Children was it being considered, and they came back to me on September 25th and said, no it wasn’t.
She added that she was “absolutely horrified” by the incident.
Last week it took 40 firefighters to put out a fire at the vacant site of a former nursing home in Dublin.
Speaking at the time, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is “very concerned” about the incident.
In recent weeks there have been disturbing reports of suspected criminal damage at properties around the country,” he said.
“There is never any justification for violence, arson or vandalism in our Republic,” he added.
Officers investigating yesterday’s fire in Kildare have appealed for “anyone who may have information in relation to this incident” to contact them.
“Any person who was in the vicinity of Celbridge Road and Forest Park between 12.30am and 2am and who observed any unusual activity is asked to contact investigating Gardaí,” they state.
“Any road users or pedestrians who were travelling in the area during this time and who may have camera footage (including dash cam) are asked to make this available to Gardaí.
“In particular, members of the local community who may be able to assist Gardaí are asked to come forward,” they added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Leixlip Garda Station 01 666 7800, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.