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Man (43) charged with threatening to commit arson at Kildare hotel housing asylum seekers

The defendant was also charged with two counts of trespassing at the hotel on Monday and Tuesday

Naas District Court

Ken FoySunday World

A 43-year-old man has been charged in court with offences linked to an alleged threat to commit arson at a hotel which is housing asylum seekers in Co Kildare.

Stephen O’Rourke with an address at Castle Park, Athy, Co Kildare, was granted bail at Naas District Court and as part of these conditions he is not to go within 500 metres of the hotel and not to contact staff, management or residents.

Mr O’ Rourke was charged with one count of threatening to damage property in which he knew it was likely to endanger the life of the owner and other residents of the Abbey Court Hotel in Athy.

This allegedly happened on Monday, January 9.

The defendant was also charged with two counts of trespassing at the hotel on Monday and Tuesday in a “manner to cause fear to another.”

An anti-asylum seeker protest which is temporarily housing 41 refugees is due to take place at the hotel tonight.

Most of these people are originally from Africa and they include 17 children, 21 women and three adult males.

Mr O’ Rourke was arrested outside his home in Athy on Thursday morning as part of a Garda investigation into alleged threats to cause damage to the hotel.

The accused was remanded on bail to appear before the District Court again on February 14.

It is understood the Abbey Court Hotel had a total capacity of 94, depending on family configurations.

Families and some single women will be accommodated in individual hotel rooms, with a mix between double, twin and single rooms, with full board accommodation.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said those that will be placed in accommodation will be mostly families, with some single women and children.

The residents will also be able to access health services through mainstream services: primary care, GP and emergency services.

Any applicant residing in the accommodation is entitled to a medical card.

An adult resident will receive an allowance of €38.80 per week while a parent is entitled to €29.80 to cover essentials for their child.

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