Man arrested after alleged intimidation at Co Wicklow hotel falsely rumoured as earmarked for asylum seekers

Anti-immigration activists gathered at Lawless Heron Hotel in Aughrim on Monday and told construction workers refurbishing hotel to get out

The suspect is being held at a Co Wicklow Garda station

Gardaí have arrested a man allegedly involved in the intimidation of builders at a Wicklow hotel which was falsely rumoured as earmarked for asylum seekers.

The incident occurred during a protest out the Lawless Heron Hotel in Aughrim.

The hotel, which is currently closed for business, was undergoing renovation work in advance of reopening. A large number of protesters gathered at the site on Monday in the false belief it was being converted into accommodation for international protection applicants.

“Workers contracted to carry out lawful employment on the site were allegedly subjected to abuse by individuals present. Gardaí attended the scene and were also subjected to abuse,” the Garda said in a statement.


One video uploaded and shared widely online by anti-immigration activists shows a group standing around a construction worker and shouting at him.

Footage shows a highly agitated man telling the construction worker his team has one hour to leave the area. The worker is also told “Get out with your f**king crew, get the f**k out, in the van, get out.”

The construction worker then appears to agree to leave. Gardaí and the owners of the hotel have confirmed it is not intended for asylum seeker accommodation.

Gardaí say they have launched a criminal investigation. On Thursday, they arrested a man, aged in his 30s, under the Criminal Justice Public Order Act, 1994.

The suspect is being held at a Co Wicklow Garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

Garda headquarters has said a large amount of misinformation and disinformation is in circulation online concerning the incident. It said it respects the rights of citizens to protest but that these rights do not extend to breaches of criminal law.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times