Anti-vaccination graffiti has been found on the pavement outside the Freemason’s Grand Lodge in Dublin which was damaged in a suspected arson attack on New Year’s Eve.
Witnesses said a man was seen climbing through a broken window into the front room of the building which contains the lodge’s library at about 5.20pm.
A Christmas tree was set on fire. There was nobody in the hall at the time.
A man in his 30s who was injured when he fell from the window into the basement was taken to St James’ Hospital with spinal injuries.
Graffiti was sprayed in blue paint on the pavement outside the building, which has been the headquarters of Freemasonry in Ireland since the 1860s.
The graffiti is understood to be reference to mRNA, the technology used in some Covid-19 vaccines.
A Garda spokesman said on Sunday that gardaí were following a definite line of enquiry and that the investigation is ongoing.
The Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland grand secretary Philip Daley described the attack as "very serious" and "completely out of the blue".
However, he said there had been previous demonstrations outside the hall and other Masoni halls in Ireland by anti-vaccination campaigners.
“The view is that we created the virus and we are part of the new world order and we have to be stopped. It’s ridiculous stuff,” he said.
The fire was extinguished by Dublin Fire Brigade. At 5.40pm three fire appliances, a turntable ladder, district officer and ambulance were dispatched to the scene.
Firefighters using breathing apparatus fought the fire containing the damage to one room. The fire was extinguished shortly after 6pm.
The lodge is directly across from Buswells Hotel and only 200m from the gates of Leinster House
Buswells manager Paul Gallagher said one of his staff heard a window break and went outside to see a man go through the window. The staff member rang 999 and the fire brigade arrived quickly on the scene.
Gardai at Pearse Street station say they are treating the incident as one of burglary and criminal damage. They have appealed to the public to come forward with any information especially any motorists with dashcam footage.