‘Real risk’ of someone being killed in arson attack on properties for housing refugees

The Minister for Finance said gardai are doing everything to address the ‘heinous’ crimes.

Gardai are investigating the crash (PA)
Gardai are investigating

The Minister for Finance has warned there is a real risk of someone being killed in an arson attack, as the gardai and government grapple with a series of incidents on premises rumoured to be used for asylum seekers.

It comes as the government was accused of doing “almost nothing” in response to the escalation of attacks on properties earmarked for housing refugees.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said there have been 26 arson attacks in the last five years against premises rumoured to be used for asylum seekers.

Speaking in the Dail, Mr Murphy said that ordinary people must take a stand against the “terrorism of the far right”.

He said rumours emerge online suggesting a property is going to be used and far rights activists arrive in the area, and a few days later the property is burned down.

Mr Murphy named several individuals who he said are “quick to the scene” at buildings which are rumoured to house refugees, but later said he was not linking those people to the arson attacks.

“We should call what we are seeing what it is. We are witnessing a campaign of far right terrorism in this state,” Mr Murphy said.

“And what has been the response? Almost nothing. Nobody charged, fiddling while the country burns. We finally have three arrests this morning for the arson in Ringsend.”

However, Michael McGrath said gardai are doing everything to address the “heinous” crimes, but said that arson attacks are difficult to solve.

“We utterly condemn any criminal act, where properties are being deliberately set on fire. It is arson. It is a criminal act and the gardai are investigating,” the Minister for Finance told the Dail.

“You’ve acknowledged arrests have been made today in one particular case, but the best thing that we can do is to reaffirm our support for the work of An Garda Siochana, that we will give them the necessary resources and whatever support that they need to do their work.

“These are difficult crimes to solve, let’s be honest, but they will do everything they possibly can to solve them and to send files to the DPP and ultimately achieve conviction.

“I think it’s important that we do stand together and provide our support because these are heinous crimes that could not just end up in damaging or destroying property, but could end up taking human life and that is the real risk that we are very concerned about.

“I know you are concerned about it as well. As a government we have responded as comprehensively as we can with the support of the people to a wave of migration that we have had to respond to because of the war in Ukraine.”

Mr Murphy lay the blame of social inequalities with the government, accusing Fine Gael and Fianna Fail of neglecting communities.

“The reason we have a housing crisis is not because of immigration, but it’s because you push the profits of big developers and landlords ahead of people’s need for a home,” the Dublin South West TD said.

“We have a health crisis because you put the private hospitals and the insurance companies first.

“We have deep inequalities, we have neglected communities because of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael which have run the stage ever since its foundation.

“That is why ordinary people need to take a stand against the terrorism of the far right, against the racism, homophobia, sexism and hate that they tried to spread and against the housing crisis and inequality that you have created.”