Northern Ireland news

'Shocking and shameful' scenes condemned after tents belonging to homeless refugees torched following clashes in Dublin

The camp in Dublin's Sandwith Street that was set alight on Friday evening. Picture by Niall Carson/PA
Paul Ainsworth

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has condemned those behind the burning of a makeshift refugee camp in Dublin of "malign opportunism".

Tents in the Sandwith Street area of Dublin were torched on Friday evening following earlier clashes in the area between anti-immigration protesters and groups supporting homeless asylum seekers.

No-one was injured when the camp was set alight in the area close to the city's International Protection Office, Gardaí said, but tents and other items were destroyed by the blaze.

One man in his 30s was charged with a public order offence, it was confirmed, and will appear before Dublin District Court later this month.

Following Friday's scenes, the Taoiseach said: “I condemn this violence unreservedly. It is malign opportunism."

Mr Varadkar added: "A tiny minority of people are clearly determined to make capital out of a difficult situation. The Gardaí are carrying out an investigation. We cannot tolerate actions such as this.”

Gardaí were forced to stand between the two groups of demonstrators during Friday's protests.

Anti-immigration demonstrators had called for a protest against the camp on social media.

Following the burning of the camp, the Irish Refugee Council condemned the "shocking and disgraceful scenes".

In a social media post, a spokesperson for the group hit out at a "tiny minority" whose actions were "in stark contrast to Irish communities' proud history of welcome", adding that  "immediate" action was required by the Irish government to protect vulnerable people.

The Republic's justice minister Simon Harris, also condemned the "utterly appalling and unacceptable scenes" in Sandwith Street.

He added in a tweet: "Everyone in this country has a right to be safe. The right to protest is never a right to endanger or intimidate."

Posting about Friday's incidents, right-wing group Real Message Eire, said "locals" had "successfully ran illegal migrants and communists out of the area", adding: "History made!"

Dublin Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin described the vandalism at the Sandwith Street camp as an "outrage".

"This is racism pure and simple," he said.

"Burning the tents of homeless people who have come to Ireland seeking international protection. This is not who we are as a people. We are better than this."


Northern Ireland news