Investigation underway after Garda assaulted and man arrested at migrant protest in Westmeath – – Our News, Your Views

Investigation underway after Garda assaulted and man arrested at migrant protest in Westmeath

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A garda was attacked and a man arrested during a protest on Friday night as asylum seekers were being bussed to Westmeath.

The alleged attack was said to have occurred at around 9.00pm, when Gardaí asked protesters to leave and allow staff onto the Columb Barracks property in Mullingar, reports Sunday World.

Gardai confirmed in a statement that an officer was attacked but did not need hospital treatment.

A 20-year-old man was arrested for violating public order shortly after midnight during protests which continued until 1.30am on Saturday.

According to a Garda spokesman, the man was later released and a file is being prepared for the director of the prosecutor’s office, reports Sunday World.

On Friday, protesters prevented a bus carrying applicants for international protection from entering the barracks and blocked the gate and then left.

Various groups have protested outside the former barracks against the plan since the integration department announced it in February.

The barracks closed in Mullingar in 2012 are expected to house 120 asylum seekers in 15 tents.

The 25-acre site in the city center is now used by 30 community groups.

In a statement on Friday, the Integration Department said it was aware of an ongoing incident at Columb Barracks and was in contact with En Garda Síochána, reports Sunday World.

“Over the past year, communities across Ireland have demonstrated great solidarity and welcome to those who have come here seeking refuge,” the statement said, reports Sunday World.

Since its official closure as an Irish Defense Forces base in 2012, Columb Barracks has been home to groups assisting vulnerable young people with mental health issues and many more.

One plan, with help from the Department of Defence, is to house both Ukrainian refugees and other international refugees at the facility and it will only be used for 12 months.

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