Sunday 24 February 2019

Gardai investigating fire at Rooskey asylum seeker hotel - just weeks after arson attack

  • Fire was discovered by security personnel last night
  • Gardai appealing for witnesses to come forward
  • Hotel was previously targeted in arson attack
  • Emerged last year that the hotel was in line to become a reception centre for up to 82 refugees
A Garda outside the Shannon Key West hotel in Roosky, Co. Leitrim Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM
A Garda outside the Shannon Key West hotel in Roosky, Co. Leitrim Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM
The balcony area sealed off by Garda at the Shannon Key West hotel Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM
Probe: Garda forensic officers outside the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey after the fire in January. Photo: Tony Gavin

Robin Schiller, Rachel Farrell and Conor Feehan

GARDAI have launched an investigation after a fire was reported by security staff at a hotel earmarked for direct provision last night.

Members of the garda technical bureau began examining the site shortly after 9am this morning after on-site security personnel discovered a fire at the Shannon Key West Hotel in the village of Rooskey at 9.15pm.

The hotel remained sealed off this morning pending the forensic examination by members of the garda technical bureau.

They spent some time on a balcony above the main entrance where a window may have been broken prior to the fire being reported.

The balcony area sealed off by Garda at the Shannon Key West hotel
Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM
The balcony area sealed off by Garda at the Shannon Key West hotel Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM

They photographed the hotel inside and out with their initial focus being in the first floor and external balcony.

All residents of the hotel, which is on the Roscommon-Leitrim border, were evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Gardai said this morning that a small amount of damage was caused by the fire.

Traffic diversions were put in place through the town of Dromod because the road in front of the hotel and along the bank of the river Shannon was closed also.

Emergency services attended the incident at the hotel late last night, which was previously targeted in an arson attack.

At around 9.45pm on Monday evening, gardai based at Carrick-on-Shannon were alerted to reports of a blaze at the hotel.

Locals said they had seen the fire brigade from Strokestown arriving last night but they did not see flames.

"It was a small fire and it was under control quickly," said one local man.

Members of the Leitrim and Roscommon United Against Racism group condemned the fire last night, describing the incident as "horrifying".

"If this is the second racist arson attack on the hotel, then there are people somewhere around who are pretty determined not to have asylum seekers come and use the hotel as a direct provision centre,” member Leah Doherty told Shannonside FM.

“It’s pretty horrifying.”

It would be the second time that a fire has struck the hotel in the space of a month.

A separate investigation is currently under way into an arson attack at the disused hotel which was earmarked as a centre for asylum seekers.

Senior gardai at the time said that fire, on January 10, was being treated as suspicious and that internal damage had been caused.

Last November it emerged that the hotel - which closed in 2011- was in line to become a reception centre for up to 82 refugees.

A garda investigation will determine if the latest incident is suspicious.

Senior officers attended the scene and a probe will be led by gardai based at Carrick-on-Shannon.

Gardai are appealing for any witnesses in relation to the incident who may have been in the area between 8p.m. and 9.30p.m. on Monday night 11th February to contact Carrick-on-Shannon garda station on 071 - 9650510.

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