Two arson attacks at an Irish hotel due to house refugees have been condemned as “simply not consistent with the Gospel” by two Catholic bishops.
The two recent fires at The Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey, on the Leitrim-Roscommon border, “have caused significant upset to parishioners on both sides of the River Shannon”, said the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, Francis Duffy, and the Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran.
The bishops 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.
“Militant opposition, expressed in the destruction of property, is simply not consistent with the Gospel,” they said.
“Every civilised society is bound under international law to provide shelter for refugees. Jesus teaches us that we will be judged, among other things, on how we respond to the needs of those who are without shelter.”
The bishops point out that 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.
“Refugees need their own personal and family space,” they said. “They also need to be supported in becoming part of the wider community in which they live. We believe that many of our parishioners would want to welcome refugees and offer them such support.
“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.
“We join with the clergy and parishioners on both sides of the river in calling on all concerned, including the civil authorities, to engage in the kind of dialogue and consultative planning that will allow the best possible outcome, both for refugees and for the local community,” they concluded.
Picture: General view of the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey in Ireland, which has been fire bombed twice since it was announced as a refugee centre. (Niall Carson/PA).