Six men have been charged in connection with an incident on New Year’s Day at an Irish hotel housing asylum seekers that saw four people hospitalized with stab wounds.
All individuals, aged in their 20s and 30s, are residents of the Hotel Killarney in County Kerry, which is currently being used as a Direct Provision center accommodating asylum seekers.
According to police, a fight broke out at the location shortly after 8 p.m. on Sunday, which the Irish Times reports was “between two groups of men from Eastern Europe and North Africa.”
Four men were hospitalized with stab wounds, which are understood to be non-life threatening, and a large police presence was required to restore order at the facility.
A spokesperson for Garda, the national police service of Ireland, confirmed two men were arrested at the time of the incident, and a further four were apprehended by authorities on Monday.
The fight was described by police as a “public order incident”; those involved were detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
“A Garda forensic examination has taken place of the scene. The investigation is ongoing,” the spokesperson added.
Footage circulating on social media showed a large police presence at the facility in the aftermath of the incident.
Commenting on the incident, the leader of the Irish Freedom Party, Hermann Kelly, wrote: “Multiple stabbings at former hotel in Killarney now used by migrants. How much violence and murders do we have to witness before we say ‘Enough is enough?'”
The hotel at the heart of the incident is acting as a temporary facility for housing asylum seekers, a policy that has been adopted by both Irish and British governments to cope with rising levels of immigrants, and has brought with it much social unrest and civil disorder.
In an interview with Irish broadcaster RTÉ, Mayor of Killarney Niall Kelleher called on Minister Roderic O’Gorman and the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) to revisit its policy, which has seen hundreds of new arrivals, predominantly adult males of many different nationalities, occupy the hotel, causing tensions among themselves and the wider public.
“There was a lot of concern raised by people here openly, and by the elected representatives, regarding the volume and concentration of people in one center,” Kelleher explained.
“That hasn’t changed, and I’m calling on IPAS and the minister for a full review of the incident that has happened, as well as the Garda investigation,” he added.