Northern Ireland news

Reward offered over alleged arson attack on Ukrainian refugee hostel

Businessman Peter Casey intended developing the Buncrana hostel as a not-for-profit refugee centre.
Seamus McKinney

Businessman and former presidential candidate Peter Casey is offering a €10,000 reward for information about an alleged arson attack on a building he was developing as a Ukrainian refugee hostel.

The building, a former residence for older people on the outskirts of Buncrana in Co Donegal, was extensively damaged in the incident. Mr Casey said he had no doubt the fire was started deliberately and he blamed individuals who were “anti-refugee” for the attack.

Mr Casey, who is also a former judge on the RTE version of Dragon’s Den, is executive chairman Claddagh Resources and has extensive business interests in Ireland and the US. In 2018, he finished second to President Michael D Higgins in the presidential election.

The fire caused extensive damage to the building which was just weeks from completion as a refugee centre. Mr Casey said the complex was to be run on a complete “not-for-profit” basis with any money provided by government going to local charities and to help Ukrainian refugees in financial need.

Mr Casey also revealed he has received abusive text messages from individuals opposed to his plans for the complex.

He is now offering a €10,000 reward to anyone who could provide information to the Gardaí which would lead to the arrest of whoever was responsible. He told Donegal’s Highland Radio the majority of people in the county were supportive of efforts to help Ukrainian refugees.

“It’s a very sad reflection that a couple of sick people can do stuff like this; it reflects badly,” he said.

A spokesman for the Gardaí said no-one was in the building at the time. He said investigations into the incident were continuing.

Northern Ireland news