Posted on May 24, 2024

Garda Injured and 13 Arrested Following Night of Unrest at Ballyogan Asylum Seeker Site

Cathal Ryan, Irish Mirror, May 23, 2024

A Garda was injured and 13 people were arrested following a night of unrest on Wednesday outside a site in Dublin earmarked to house asylum seekers, just one day after anti-refugee protesters “impeded” efforts to bring International Protection Applicants there.

The centre on Ballyogan Road, around 12 kilometres south of the capital, was the scene of a shocking display on Tuesday evening, when people gathered outside the site stopped a bus carrying asylum seekers from entering the facility where they would be safely housed.

Following the horrific unrest on Tuesday, a further standoff ensued between Gardaí and people in attendance outside the centre as taxis entered the property on Wednesday afternoon, with Gardaí stopping people from breaking the line as protesters shouted at officers.

Throughout the day, videos circulated online showing people, many of whom appear to be children gathered outside the gate of the property, with some sitting on chairs blocking the entrance, and some had Irish flags draped over them.

Banners reading “Get Them Out, Get Them Out” and “No Unvetted Migrants” could be seen hanging along the fence on either side of the gate to the centre in Ballyogan. One woman was carrying a mirror, asking Garda if he could “look at himself in the mirror”.

As more members of Gardaí arrived on the scene, tensions appeared to escalate, culminating in a row of both officers and members of the Armed Support Unit, with multiple garda vehicles and officers behind them, blocking the entrance to the site. Taxis were seen entering the property as protesters shouted at Gardaí while they attempted to break past them.

One Garda was injured over the course of the incident while four men were arrested for Public Order Offences. All appeared before the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin on Wednesday.

Throughout the evening into the night, unrest at the site continued leading to a further nine arrests, five men and four women, as protesters were seen banging on the gates and shouting.

The specially designed accommodation centre at Ballyogan Road was previously being used for refugees who were fleeing the ongoing war in Ukraine following the 2022 invasion by Russia.

Following what the Department of Integration called “sustained pressure” to meet Ireland’s legal obligation to accommodate asylum seekers, the site was repurposed for use by International Protection Applicants.

While access to the site was impeded by a protest on Tuesday, with further protests taking place outside the centre on Wednesday, the Department has told the Irish Mirror that it remains “committed to utilising Ballyogan as stated”.

Taxis were seen entering the centre on Wednesday, although it is unclear if these vehicles were carrying International Protection Applicants. The Department of Integration was asked by this publication if they were once more “impeded” on Wednesday.

A Garda spokesperson told the Irish Mirror: “While assisting IPAS personnel at a premises on the Ballyogan road on the evening of Wednesday 22nd May 2024, Gardaí arrested nine persons for public order offences.

“Five men and four women were detained at Garda Stations in the Dublin Region. They have all since been charged and will appear before Dun Laoghaire District Court this morning. Earlier yesterday, four men were arrested for public order offences at the same location.

“They were all charged and appeared before the Criminal Courts of Justice, Dublin, yesterday afternoon. A Garda member was injured the course of this earlier incident and received medical treatment. Investigations into these incidents are ongoing.”