Race hate attacks on asylum centres
Some 6,000 people, roughly 0.1% of the Irish population, are today living in direct-provision centres.
A suspected arson attack at a centre for asylum seekers has provoked fears of a violent campaign by the extreme right in the Irish Republic.
The fire is the second in six weeks. This fire was at Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey, County Leitrim, and was started by two men who smashed their way into the building through a rear window.
The previous incident happened at a proposed asylum seeker centre that was burned down at the Caiseal Mara Hotel in Moville, County Donegal.
Local Sinn Fein councillor Seadhna Logan said after visiting the scene: “I am absolutely disgusted" for the attack and the apparent attitude behind it that "it is better to burn a vacant property than to use it for refugees".
Asylum seekers are provided with basic shelter and accommodation pending the processing of their applications in a 26 County system known as 'direct provision'. They are housed in centres which operate in a manner similar to open prisons.
The former Shannon Key West and Caiseal Mara hotels were two of three planned new centres due to be opened in coming months. Some 6,000 people, roughly 0.1% of the Irish population, are today living in direct-provision centres.
Mr Logan said he knew there was concern in the community about plans for a direct provision centre there "but I very much doubt if this was locally driven".
He said, while people had legitimate concerns, he did not believe this level of hostility existed in the community.
Of the controversy surrounding the property's future use, he said: "At the end of the day these people (asylum seekers) are coming from places of crisis and I do not think Rooskey is the first place they would pick to come to."
But there are fears that the south could be getting a taste of the organised racist violence long a feature of loyalist areas of the North of Ireland.