80 attend anti-racism event in Rooskey after fire at hotel earmarked for asylum seekers

80 attend anti-racism event in Rooskey after fire at hotel earmarked for asylum seekers
The Shannon Key West hotel following the fire.

Update 5.30pm: About 80 people have attended an anti-racism gathering at Rooskey in Co Leitrim, after a fire at a hotel earmarked for asylum-seekers.

The event was organised by the Leitrim and Roscommon United against Racism group with people from Ballaghaderreen, Cootehall, and south Leitrim attending, as well as some Rooskey residents.

South Africa's Bulelani Mfaco, who lives in a direct-provision centre in Limerick spoke of his negative experience of Ireland's system for asylum-seekers.

Gardaí are still investigating the attack at the Shannon Key West Hotel on Thursday night.

"We oppose the direct-provision system as one that's unfit for purpose," said one protestor.

Another added that direct-provision was "a very, very bad system. We need to finish up that system. We should give a right to work [to] everybody.

"Young people like to work."

Another protest remarked that she attended to "condemn the attack that has happened on this hotel".

Earlier: Anti-racism event to be held in Rooskey after fire at hotel earmarked for asylum seekers

An anti-racism event will take place in Rooskey in Co Leitrim today.

The event will be held at the scene of a suspicious fire at the Shannon Key West Hotel and gets underway at 12.30pm this afternoon.

The fire on Thursday night caused extensive smoke damage to the hotel which was earmarked as a direct provision centre for asylum seekers.

Gardaí say there are investigating all possible causes of the blaze.

Today's rally has been organised by the Leitrim and Roscommon United against Racism group.

Organisers say the gathering intends to "reject the kind of casual racism that is increasingly directed at members of ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and refugees".

In a Facebook post, the group said they want an end to the Direct Provision system and they are opposed to "the manner in which Direct Provision centres are imposed without consultation on small communities".

"We will welcome support from local people - but also from those from outside the area that want to say no to racism and the Direct Provision system," the group said.

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