A suspected arson attack at the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey has been described as a “catastrophe for the area.”
A Garda technical examination has just concluded and the road has re-opened.
Earlier Garda forensic officers spent hours at the hotel in order to determine the cause of a fire, which was reported shortly after 8pm last night.
No one was injured in the blaze, despite a security man being on the first floor of the hotel when the fire began, and it’s understood significant smoke damage has been discovered within the premises.
Leitrim TD Martin Kenny told Shannonside FM the damage to the hotel is a massive shock to the entire community:
A dispute over the ownership of the hotel, and plans to develop it as a centre for asylum seekers, has caused controversy in the local area in recent weeks.
It had been assumed that an announcement before Christmas indicating the sale of the hotel to a local consortium would scupper government plans to accommodate asylum seekers in the village, – but Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan indicated today that final preparations were being made to house up to 80 asylum seekers at the hotel before the fire and now says that it is also too early to say when the hotel might be ready to accept residents.
Paradub, who had hoped to re-open the hotel as a four-star venue have declined to comment on last night’s incident with the sale due to have been completed this Monday.
Owner James Kieran has also declined to comment.
Local man Gerry Gerety said people’s concerns were not with refugees, but the future of the village itself :
The incident is the second such fire to occur at premises earmarked as accommodation for refugees, with a fire reported at hotel on Donegal in Moville before Christmas.
Local businessman Andrew Reynolds told Shannonside FM that if it is found to have been arson, it will be hugely disappointing to everyone in Rooskey:
Gardai are appealing for anyone who may have seen anything in the area at the time to contact them at 071-9650510.