Investigation ‘ongoing’ into alleged assault on man (70s) at Co Clare migrant protest

Man allegedly hit by torch in face at protest against migrants moving into a house in Scool, Co Clare

Gardaí are investigating an assault on a man in his 70s who was treated for a facial injury in hospital after being allegedly hit with a torch when he approached two men who were part of a protest against the prospect of International Protection applicants being moved into a house in Scool, Co Clare on Sunday evening.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána said the man had been taken to University Hospital Limerick after the incident but that his injuries were not life-threatening. Enquiries are “ongoing”, the force said.

The men alleged to have been responsible for the incident are not known locally, according to members of a group set up to welcome migrants to the area.

Senator Timmy Dooley, who spoke to members of both groups on Monday evening said that the situation had arisen out of misinformation that had been “exploited”.


“There was a group of local people protesting the notion of somebody showing up and the other group arrived to welcome them, all in the belief that there were buses on the way here tonight but my information is that there are no buses, no contract in place for anyone to come here; there’s just a rumour. So there is a lot of misinformation and I think that’s being exploited again by small elements intent on creating division,” he said.

Senator Dooley said the protesters were “entitled to have their concerns heard but nobody is entitled to physically assault anybody and I’d appeal to people to be careful even about a protest because you’re creating fertile ground for others who have more malicious intentions to infiltrate it”.

The victim, who was a local man, was said not to have been part of any group.

On Monday evening about 15 people attended a protest against moving International Protection applicants into the area with about 30 staging a counter protest organised by a newly established branch of the Clare Solidarity Network.

That group said members of the far-right had appealed on social media for people to travel to Co Clare to form an Inch-style blockade.

Speaking on behalf of the local branch of the Clare Solidarity Network, Theresa O’Donohoe said its members “believe most people in Clare are compassionate and want to help those fleeing persecution and war. Unfortunately, their voices have been drowned out and intimidated by those seeking to block asylum seekers from coming to the area.”

She said outside “agitators” were “infiltrating – or instigating – local protests”, and “creating and exploiting fear and hatred”.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times