Gardaí arrested a man in Mullingar for assaulting an officer during an anti-asylum seeker protest

Gardaí arrested a man in Mullingar for assaulting an officer during an anti-asylum seeker protest

Demonstrators had congregated at Columb Barracks to prohibit a bus from transporting International Protection applicants.

Gardaí has confirmed that a man was arrested after an officer was attacked at a demonstration against the relocation of asylum seekers to Columb Barracks in Mullingar yesterday evening.

There was a substantial gathering of protesters at the Barracks gate around 1 pm as a bus carrying asylum seekers was expected to arrive. Despite the crowds, the bus had to turn away two hours later due to the protest.

At 11.35 am, a bus with approximately 30 IP applicants arrived safely at Columb Barracks without any problems.

Gardaí had a presence on the site since 1 pm but extra units were requested and dispatched at around 9 pm to ensure the safe entry of personnel. A statement was released today to confirm this.

The Gardaí have taken away tents set up by protesters outside of Columb Barracks who had been staging a 24/7 demonstration for several weeks. It was verified that the crowd left the area after 1.30 am, but returned to the same site on Saturday morning to carry on with their protest.

The Department of Integration has outlined a plan to use the 10-hectare (25-acre) site for IP applicants. This will include tents housing 120 singles initially, which shall be later replaced with Portakabin-type units to accommodate Ukrainian refugee families.

They also expressed their dissatisfaction with the protest at Columb Barracks and expressed concern over the potential disruption to up to 30 community groups who have been using the site since its closure for military purposes.

The Department of Defence recently transferred an agreed area to the Department of Integration, which had managed the former military installation since 2012. This area is now being used for tented accommodation.