Locals 'outraged' by second fire at Roosky hotel, Roscommon TD says

Shannon Key West hotel following the fire last month.

A local TD has said that while a Roscommon community is opposed to the use of a hotel for asylum seekers there, they "do not condone" a second fire in the space of just over a month there.

Gardaí said they are concerned “at the level of determination” shown by those behind the fires at the Shannon Key West Hotel in Roosky, on the Roscommon-Leitrim border, which is due to house asylum seekers. The latest blaze broke out shortly before 9.15pm on Monday night.

Onsite security personnel alerted emergency services and the fire was quickly brought under control, causing a small amount of damage.

All residents of the hotel, which included security personnel and a foreman, were evacuated and no-one was injured.

A full Garda technical examination took place this morning.

Garda Supt Kevin English told Newstalk Breakfast that it is too early to determine if there is a connection between last night’s fire and a blaze on January 10.

He said there were three security personnel there at the time with their cars visible in the car park outside.

“These individuals were not deterred by the presence of security personnel. It is a concern that they showed this determination,” he said.

He appealed for any witnesses in the area who saw suspicious activity in the area of the hotel between 8pm and 9.30pm on Monday to contact the Gardaí in Carrick-on-Shannon on 071 9650510 or to call the Garda hotline.

This is the second fire at the disused 39-room hotel, which had been the subject of a high court dispute over its sale and sparked criticism locally since it emerged that the Department of Justice plans to accommodate around 80 asylum seekers at the premises. The hotel had previously closed in 2011.

An anti-racism rally attended by hundreds of people was held in the town after the first fire, a suspected arson attack, in January.

Local Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy said it was "true to say a large percentage of people in Roosky have serious reservations about the hotel being used as a centre for asylum seekers".

"But despite the Government’s lack of engagement on the issue, the local residents do not in any way condone this type of illegal activity and they are outraged by this second fire at the hotel," he said.

Local residents had expressed dismay at the Government’s approach to direct provision by locating over 80 asylum seekers in a small rural village such as Roosky thereby increasing the population by over 20% with no proper facilities but any protests to date have been peaceful and local people do not in any way condone these type of arson attacks and this type of activity must be utterly condemned.

Last November, there was also a fire in Moville, Co Donegal in the town's Caiseal Mara Hotel, where 100 refugees are set to be housed.

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