Far right or lone wolf – who is behind the wave of arson attacks on migrant housing?

The Far Right may be fanning the flames, inciting locals to strike the match

Listen | 23:59

Since 2018, there have been 23 arson attacks with a suspected anti-immigration motivation on buildings earmarked, or just rumoured for use, as accommodation for asylum seekers.

Thirteen of these attacks have taken place in the past year.

A flurry of arrests and search operations targeting those behind these arson attacks have taken place since early February. However, at the same time, the attacks have continued.

Last Wednesday, a seven-bed bungalow in Leixlip, Co Kildare was destroyed by arsonists after false rumours spread it was to be used as asylum seeker housing. Three days previously, a disused nursing home in Crooksling, near Saggart in southwest Co Dublin, was set alight.


The question on the minds of politicians, gardaí and the public is, who is behind these attacks?

Is it a centrally organised far-right group, a loose network of anti-immigrant activists or just individual local criminals incited by online misinformation and racist rhetoric?

And why is it so hard to catch the arsonists?

Today, on In the News, Irish Times Crime and Security Correspondent Conor Gallagher discusses who may be behind the wave of arson attacks across the country and what can be done. .

Presented by Sorcha Pollak. Produced by Aideen Finnegan and Suzanne Brennan.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast