The scene outside the former Shannon Key West Hotel, Rooskey following a recent arson attack. Photo: Brian Farrell
Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Francis Duffy has described as “disturbing” two suspected arson attacks at Rooskey's Shannon Key West Hotel.
In a joint statement with Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, the Longford based cleric also called into question the practicalities associated with direct provision centres and urged various state bodies to ensure the needs of refugees are met.
“Two recent fires at The Shannon Key West Hotel have caused significant upset to parishioners on both sides of the River Shannon in Rooskey,” he said.
“It is all the more disturbing since it is suggested that the fires are a response to the proposed use of the hotel to house refugees.”
The statement comes following stormy exchanges between locals and anti-racism activists in Rooskey on Sunday afternoon.
The 'No To Racism: Asylum Seekers Welcome' rally saw strong words exchanged between anti-racism activists - largely from outside the town - and locals, who believed the march was giving the area a bad name.
“The Catholic Church in Ireland has frequently expressed concern about the negative aspects of Direct Provision Centres where asylum seekers often live for many years, without the possibility of a normal family life,” both Bishops said.
“The well-being of local communities and of refugees alike requires that the provision of facilities for those who have lost everything must be carefully planned, in consultation with all the stakeholders, including local schools and health services.”