County Leitrim: Suspected arson at Rooskey hotel

Garda Image copyright RTE

A hotel in the Republic of Ireland that had been earmarked to house asylum seekers has been damaged in a suspected arson attack.

The fire on Thursday night at the Shannon Key West Hotel in the village of Rooskey in County Leitrim caused extensive smoke damage.

Nobody was injured.

The hotel was identified last year by the Irish justice department as a possible location to provide accommodation for asylum seekers.

It was due to be sold this week to a company that intends to house up to 80 people.

In November, some residents of Rooskey, which has a population of about 500, sought an emergency meeting with the Department of Justice and Equality to outline their concerns about the plans.

Police have sealed off the hotel to carry out a forensic investigation.

Engulfed in smoke

The alarm was raised in the village, which is on the border with County Roscommon, just before 20:00 local time on Thursday.

When police and the emergency services arrived at the scene, they found the building reception engulfed in smoke.

Irish national broadcaster RTÉ is reporting that a security worker is believed to have been present on the first floor of the premises when the fire began.

RTÉ says gardaí (Irish police) will investigate claims that a number of people broke into the hotel to spread flammable liquids.

In November, there was an arson attack at a hotel in Moville in County Donegal that had been set to house about 100 asylum seekers.

A man in his 50s was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and the hotel was extensively damaged by the fire.