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In a disturbing turn of events, a significant fire erupted at Ross Lake House, a country hotel in Galway, Ireland, mere hours after protesters blocked the entrance in an attempt to prevent the accommodation of asylum seekers.

The fire, which began around 11:35 pm the previous night, consumed the vacant building that, despite its disuse in recent years, was slated to house 70 asylum seekers in the coming week. Fortunately, no individuals were inside the structure at the time of the blaze.

An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force, is actively investigating the incident as a case of “criminal damage by fire.”

A spokesperson for the Garda relayed, “The incident happened at around 11.35 pm and afterward fire services brought the fire under control. There were no persons inside the building at the time of the incident. The scene has been preserved, and a technical examination will take place later today.”

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth had informed locals on December 15th that the disused hotel was slated to accommodate 70 asylum seekers as part of Ireland’s commitment to hosting international protection applicants.

The incident drew attention on social media, with Nick Griffin, the former chairman of the British National Party, tweeting about the fire, emphasizing that the hotel was intended to house “unvetted migrant men.”

Another controversial figure, John McGhee, reportedly shared the news of the fire in a hate group on the Telegram messaging app. The group is allegedly administered by Mike Connell, a former Defence Forces soldier, who has denied being a member of the hard right, although he was previously investigated by the Gardaí’s main counter-terrorism unit, the Special Detective Unit (SDU).

As the authorities appeal for information regarding this troubling incident, the circumstances surrounding the fire raise concerns about the potential motivations behind the arson and the broader implications for asylum seekers and their accommodation in Ireland.

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