Roscrea protests: Man arrested during ‘standoff’ between gardaí and protesters at hotel as 17 asylum seekers move in

Garda Public Order Unit deployed as crowd of 200 gathered outside Racket Hall hotel in Co Tipperary

A man arrested following a standoff between gardaí and protesters as the first asylum seekers were moved into the Racket Hall hotel in Roscrea on Monday has been released. A file will now be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The force’s Public Order Unit was deployed with up to 200 people involved in a “standoff” at the hotel, which is due to house 160 International Protection applicants amid ongoing shortfalls and pressure on the State’s capacity to house refugees and asylum seekers.

Prominent anti-immigration activists, as well as activist groups, have circulated calls to gather at the hotel at 7pm on Monday evening on social media, and circulated footage of gardaí and protesters at the hotel today.

The families were due to be moved in last Friday, but their arrival was delayed amid opposition and protests.


In a statement on Monday, the department said 17 people had been moved into the hotel.

Officials said the State was facing an “urgent situation” nationwide to source accommodation for asylum seekers. “There have been over 190 accommodation locations utilised since January 2022 across 26 counties,” the statement said.

The department said the accommodation was needed to prevent families and children seeking asylum in the Republic becoming homeless.

In a statement, the Garda said that it had put an operation in place around the hotel this morning. “Shortly before midday, Uniform Members of An Garda Síochána supported by ‘soft cap’ Public Order Personnel provided a cordon at the entrance to the IPAS Centre to facilitate access for transport carrying International Protection Applicants.”

Public order personnel wearing ‘soft cap’ uniforms do not have helmets or body armour.

A Garda presence remains at the centre. It is understood that contrary to some suggestions, pepper spray was not used during the operation on Monday.

In a briefing note issued to local public representatives last week, the Department of Integration said 160 beds will be provided for international protection applicants in the hotel on the Dublin Road in Roscrea.

Protesters had mounted a demonstration within hours of the decision being announced and said they would attempt to block any vehicles carrying asylum seekers from entering the car park, arranging shifts to ensure the barricade is manned at all times.

The Racket Hall hotel was the only hotel operating in Roscrea until it closed the doors to the public on Thursday night following the announcement the owners of the facility have signed a 12-month contract to use its 40 rooms to accommodate 160 international protection applicants.

According to the department’s briefing note, the property consists of a “large refurbished four-star hotel accommodation” with amenities and “ample community recreational space on site”. It will have high-speed wifi.

Last weekend Dáil representatives for Tipperary, Michael Lowry (Ind), Martin Browne (SF) and Mattie McGrath (Ind), addressed a crowd who assembled on Roscrea Main Street for a demonstration organised by local activist group Roscrea Stands Up.

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Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times