Garda injured and 13 arrested after night of unrest at Ballyogan asylum seeker site

A Garda member was injured and 13 people were arrested following a night of rioting on Wednesday outside a Dublin site intended to house asylum seekers, just a day after anti-refugee protesters “impeded” efforts to bring there to applicants for international protection.

The Ballyogan Road centre, about 12 kilometers south of the capital, was the scene of a shocking spectacle on Tuesday afternoon, when people gathered outside the site prevented a bus carrying asylum seekers from entering the facility where they would be safely housed.

Following Tuesday’s horrific riot, a further clash between Gardaí and attendees took place outside the center as taxis entered the property on Wednesday afternoon, with Gardaí preventing people from breaking the queue as protesters shouted at officers.

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

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Banners reading “Get Them Out, Get Them Out” and “No Unauthorized Immigrants” could be seen hanging along the fence on either side of the center gate in Ballyogan. A woman was carrying a mirror and asked a Garda if she could “look in the mirror”.

As more Gardaí arrived at the scene, tensions appeared to rise, culminating in a line of officers and members of the Armed Support Unit, with several Garda vehicles and officers behind them, blocking the entrance to the location. Taxis were seen entering the property as protesters shouted at Gardaí as they tried to pass them.

One Garda was injured during the incident and four men were arrested for public order offences. They all appeared at the Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice on Wednesday.

Throughout the afternoon, disturbances at the site continued leading to a further nine arrests, five men and four women, while protesters were seen banging on doors and shouting.

The purpose-built accommodation center on Ballyogan Road was previously used for refugees fleeing the ongoing war in Ukraine following the 2022 Russian invasion.

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 prevented by a protest on Tuesday, and further protests took place outside the center on Wednesday, the Department told the Irish Mirror it remains “committed to using Ballyogan as directed”.

Taxis were seen entering the center on Wednesday, although it is unclear whether these vehicles were transporting international protection applicants. This publication asked the Department of Integration if they were “hindered again” on Wednesday.

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

“Five men and four women were arrested at Garda stations in the Dublin region. All have since been charged and will appear at Dun Laoghaire District Court this morning. Early yesterday, four men were arrested for public order crimes in the same place.

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

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