Arson attack on disused nursing home condemnedMike Finnerty 06 Feb 2024
An arson attack on a disused nursing home in Dublin’s South Inner City has been condemned by elected representatives.
The disused St. Bridget’s nursing home near Brittas was set on fire in the early hours of Sunday morning, with Gardaí launching an arson investigation into the attack.
The attack is the latest in a series of fires set at proposed accommodation centres for refugees, following in the wake of a fire breaking out at the disused Shipwright Pub in Ringsend in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
In both instances, there were no indications if both disused sites were earmarked for potential accommodation centres for refugees.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar remarked, “it is deeply ironic that some of those who try to link migration with crime engage in serious criminal activity themselves.”
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that the perpetrators of the attacks do not have the support of the Irish people. Crowe said the attacks serve as part of a pattern dating back nearly six years now and have only intensified in the past 12 months. “I had spoken to Minister Joe O’Brien about this site only last week and highlighted the threat of arson given the attacks we have seen right across the state; these attacks cannot be allowed to go on with impunity.”
He said “it is only a matter of time until someone is caught in the blaze or a firefighter is injured or worse battling the fire. There must be consequences to this dangerous and extreme anti-social behaviour.”“People who go out and set fire to these buildings do not represent the Irish people and if they believe that, they are only fooling themselves. These attacks must stop, the perpetrators must be apprehended, and no more lives should be put at risk.”
Local Social Democrats Councillor Eoin O’Broin said he was “disgusted” by the incident and told the Irish Times there was “no sense” that the local community were objecting to the disused nursing home being used as a refugee accommodation centre.
Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin placed the blame on Fine Gael and their supposed “pandering” to bad faith actors.
“Unfortunately Fine Gael are flailing and being out manoeuvred by some bad faith actors, like the far-right, who are sowing division in communities. They are pandering to their demands.”
“It is not immigrants who are burning buildings, blocking roads or intimidating women and children,” he said.
“We need to see a clear plan from the Department of Justice as to how they will work with the Department of Integration to end scenes like buildings burning which we are becoming far too used to.”
“Fine Gael’s slip to the right is being felt by the most vulnerable in our country.”
He stated that “no community has a veto, no person has a veto. This is not who we are – Ireland is a welcoming, open country. So many people have opened their arms and their homes to those seeking refuge here.”
“These acts of arson only sow division even further. Fine Gael must get on top of this, working with An Garda Síochána.”
The Department of Integration said the attacks “achieve nothing but endanger people’s lives and homes.”
“The Department is working to offer shelter to those who are fleeing war and persecution, and condemns any violence or intimidation towards International Protection applicants,” it said in a statement.