Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The green field site at the rear of Carrigbrook and Willow Park which is being assessed for modular housing for refugees. A gate entrance at the field was the scene of a violent incident on Monday morning

WORKERS carrying out an inspection for possible modular homes for refugees were attacked in Carlow town yesterday morning (Monday). Four males set upon surveyors and security staff at an entrance to a field at the rear of the Carrigbrook estate and Willow Park off the Tullow Road, forcing them to flee the area in their vehicles.

Three vehicles were damaged, while one worker needed medical treatment after he was struck on the head with a rock. One of the attackers, who was armed with a long metal pole, damaged at least one vehicle, while rocks were thrown at the men and vehicles. Shouts of ‘Ukrainian bastard’ were heard during the attack.

The workers are believed to have been involved in assessing the field on behalf of the Office of Public Works for rapid response modular homes for Ukrainians.

Speaking at lunchtime yesterday (Monday), Superintendent Anthony Farrell confirmed that gardaí were investigating the matter.

“People who started doing a job came under attack,” he said. “It will be treated very seriously by An Garda Síochána.”

The Nationalist spoke to locals after the disturbing incident, who said they did not want to see such incidents. However, they believed it was an omen for the future if the modular homes plan went ahead.

“The first (modular homes) will be burnt down,” believed one resident.

Two protests are planned for tomorrow (Wednesday) around the modular homes in Carlow town. A ‘Carlow Says No’ protest organised by a Facebook profile called ‘Eire New’ will take place at 3pm, while the ‘Carlow For All’ group is organising a ‘a family-friendly solidarity rally’ at 2.30pm at the same location.

Supt Farrell said there were public safety concerns as the two groups had opposing views. A garda policing plan was being put in place for the events. Supt Farrell said the gardaí consulted as best they could with the event organisers but found it challenging to contact the ‘Carlow Says No’ group.

“People have an entitlement to peaceful protest,” he said. “But we do have a situation where two groups with opposing views are meeting … I would ask people to respect peaceful protest and honour their own obligations to their safety and the people around them by acting responsibly.”

The Nationalist contacted a security company that had staff at the scene in Carrigbrook on Monday, but it declined to comment. The surveying company could not be reached for comment.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, which is responsible for the modular homes, said: “The department is aware of an incident which took place in Carlow at the proposed site of rapid build homes for those fleeing the war in Ukraine. This matter is being dealt with by the relevant authorities.”

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