fire probe | 

Dublin TD says there were ‘no plans’ to house refugees in building burned in arson attack

Footage of the blazing vacant Victorian-era building was widely circulated on social media

The scene on Sherrard Street last night. Photo: Twitter

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A Dublin TD has said there were no plans to accommodate refugees or asylum seekers in a vacant building that was the subject of a suspected arson attack on Monday evening.

Gardaí were alerted to the blaze at Rawlton House, a former boys’ school on Sherrard Street, in Dublin’s inner city, around 5.40pm.

No injuries were reported although investigations into what gardai described “as suspected criminal damage by fire” are ongoing.

Footage of the suspected arson attack on the vacant Victorian-era building was widely circulated on social media with suggestions that it was targeted as refugees were to be housed there.

Hover, local TD Gary Gannon said the Department of Children and Integration had no plans to accommodate refugees or asylum seekers in the building.

Gardaí investigate suspected arson attack on vacant building in inner city Dublin

“Rumours had been going around that it was to be allocated to refugees, but the department itself knew nothing about it,” Deputy Gannon said. “I had previously made representations regarding the building, saying it was unsuitable to house people there.”

According RTE, permission was granted by Dublin City Council to CDK Properties Limited to develop apartments at the site in 2021.

A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Integration told RTE that the building is not contracted by the department and has not been examined for use to accommodate refugees or international protection applicants.

Gardaí have appealed to witnesses or anyone who has information relevant to the incident to contact them.

“Gardaí are investigating a suspected criminal damage by fire incident that occurred at approximately 5:40pm on Monday, January 30, 2023 at a vacant dwelling in the Sherrard Street area of Dublin 1,” gardai said.

“Local fire services quickly extinguished the fire. No injuries were reported.

“Investigations into this incident are ongoing.”

Anyone with information that can assist gardaí with this investigation are asked to contact Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station on 01 6668400, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.

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