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Fatality possible if arson attacks continue

The Minister for Justice has said a fatality could happen if recent arson attacks on vacant buildings continue.

There has been a number of arson attacks on buildings believed to have been earmarked for asylum seekers.

Helen McEntee added that people who have information on the incidents and do not come forward are complicit.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, the minister said gardaí are working painstakingly on the matter to ensure people are held accountable.

And those who have information as well, they have to come forward otherwise they are as guilty as the person who lights the match.

“There are people across the country who know people who are responsible for this, and by not coming forward, you are absolutely complicit.

“We could have a fatality if it continues in this vain. And it’s not to say that gardaí are not doing everything in their power, but you have a situation where in a matter of a day, there might be a rumour spread that a building that’s vacant that has nothing to do with anything, other than a vacant property, is suddenly set alight.

“Trying to respond to that is a massive task for gardaí, they’re absolutely committed to it, but there are individuals here who have to take responsibility.

“And those who have information as well, they have to come forward otherwise they are as guilty as the person who lights the match.”

International protection system

On the same programme, Ms McEntee said she wants to crack down on people who are using the international protection system for economic reasons and are not fleeing persecution.

It follows Ms McEntee’s decision to add Botswana and Algeria to Ireland’s list of ‘safe countries’ last month.

She said that Irish people wanted to continue to help people fleeing war, but through a system that functions correctly.

“What we do know is that we have people using the international protection system – that is genuinely there for people who are fleeing war, fleeing persecution – for economic means,” she said.

Ms McEntee added: “Everything that I’m doing, introducing the accelerated process for safe countries, more than doubling the staff that we have in the IPO [International Protection Office], making sure that we move to electronic means so we can speed up the process is to make sure that people who shouldn’t be using the system are gotten out of it quickly. But that the people who genuinely need it can access support.”

The minister explained that she does not believe that Irish people want to stop helping or accepting people who are fleeing war.

“Want they want to make sure is that we have a system that works, that functions and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing,” Ms McEntee said.

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