windows smashed | 

Fears for safety of 50 asylum-seekers after protesters attacked centre in Finglas

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman© PA

Ellen CoyneIndependent.ie

A garda security assessment of the safety of 50 asylum-seekers was sought after an emergency accommodation centre in Finglas was attacked by protesters.

Documents released under Freedom of Information (FoI) also revealed that at least 25 new accommodation centres housing well over 2,000 people were opened in Ireland between January and August of this year to cope with what was described as “extreme pressure” on accommodation.

Fun Galaxy, a former child’s soft play area that was turned into a Covid-19 testing centre during the pandemic, was contracted as an emergency accommodation centre for more than 200 asylum-seekers last August.

There were plans to move 220 single men quickly into the temporary centre, which had cubicles for people to sleep in.

Twenty-five men were moved in on August 15 and another 25 the following day.

But at 9pm on the second night, a small group of people entered the centre during a delivery and demanded to know why they had seen beds arriving at the centre.

An incident report said that “within a few minutes more people were coming to the door, shouting they are not going to leave, and they will not accept this happening”.

By 10.20pm, the Department of Equality and Integration had been warned of a “serious incident” at Fun Galaxy.

Emails between department staff said protesters were “very aggressive” and had smashed windows.

“There were also threats of more direct action against the centre,” the email said.

It added the department would “now need to consider any further transfers which may exacerbate the situation in the short-term”.

The next day, it was decided to cancel plans to move 30 more people in to the temporary accommodation centre.

The department wrote to gardaí and said it was “very concerned at the risks to the 50 male residents of the centre”.

In preparation for a briefing with local politicians, the department said a list of new accommodation centres was prepared.

Finglas residents wrote to Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman about the asylum-seekers at Fun Galaxy.

One asked why he had placed “220 unvetted refugees” in Finglas without consulting the community.


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