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Minister ‘eager’ to see arrests and charges over fires

The Minister for Integration has said he is “eager” to see arrests and charges in relation to a spate of arson attacks on vacant premises rumoured to be earmarked to house asylum seekers.

Green Party TD Roderic O’Gorman said it is “nothing short of a miracle” that no one has been injured or worse in these attacks.

However, he would not be drawn on whether he supports proposals from People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy that such attacks should be treated as domestic terrorism.

Following a spate of recent fires, the Minister said it is “hugely important that we see the full force of the law applied to people who are undertaking these attacks.

“It is criminal, it is dangerous. It is nothing short of a miracle that no one has been injured – or worse – in these attacks so far,” he said.

“They also make the job that my Department has, which is a job to provide accommodation for vulnerable people, far more difficult.”

Mapped: The fires linked to accommodation for migrants

Minister O’Gorman said he met Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss the issue during the week.

He welcomed the fact that arrests have taken place since then relating to an incident at the disused Shipwright pub and guesthouse in Ringsend in Dublin on New Year’s Eve.

Two men and a woman were arrested yesterday morning, and have since been released without charge.

Asked if he was disappointed more arrests have not taken place, he said: “I am eager to see arrests and charges take place. I really welcome the fact that there has been arrests in one of these. I also recognise that it is a difficult crime to investigate.

“I am confident An Garda Síochána are focused on this matter,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner have been invited to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Justice to discuss the rise in attacks.

Minister Helen McEntee has accused some protesters of being “complicit” in the recent arson attacks on vacant buildings by not passing on relevant information to gardaí about those responsible.

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