Arson Attacks are ‘Motivated by Hate’ – Leo Varadkar 

Arson attacks are ‘motivated by hate’ – Leo Varadkar | Newstalk

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joins Pat Kenny in studio to discuss the recent spate of arson attacks on properties related to housing migrants, who is behind the attacks, and the whether hate crime would play a part in any possible convictions.

People found guilty of arson attacks on asylum seeker centres could face “additional stiffer sentences” because they are ‘motivated by hate’, the Taoiseach has told Pat Kenny.

In recent years there have been more than 20 arson attacks at properties proposed or rumoured to be proposed as asylum seeker centres around the country.

Just yesterday, Gardaí launched an investigation into a suspected attack at a seven-bedroom property which had been rumoured to be earmarked for asylum seekers in Kildare.

This morning meanwhile, Gardaí confirmed that a total of ten people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in arson attacks in recent months.

On The Pat Kenny Show, Leo Varadkar said the trend is “very worrying”.

“The biggest worry that I would have is that somebody’s going to get killed or seriously injured – whether it’s a night watchman or a security guard or maybe even somebody sleeping rough in one of these buildings,” he said.

“These are serious crimes and they are also motivated by hate, let’s not forget that.

“People often ask what is hate crime? How do you legislate for hate?

“Well when somebody is burning a building because they believe that people of a different nationality or different colour are going to be accommodated there, that’s a very clear hate crime to me.

“Those who encourage us or spread disinformation knowing full well that this could be the consequence of it, that is a hate crime.”

Hate crime
He said anyone found guilty could face an “additional stiffer sentence because of the hate element” in the crime.

He noted that arson already carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

“I think what we need to do is catch the people who have done this,” he said.

“We don’t believe it’s one gang travelling around the country committing all these arson attacks.

“They’re different in nature. There are some that are doing it opportunistically and there are others who are connected to extreme right, racist views who are more organised in what they’re doing.”

He said last week’s suspected attack on a nursing home in Brittas, County Dublin was particularly concerning.

“That was a big building,” he said. “To burn that down took a lot of planning and took a degree of knowledge.

“In other places, you know, it hasn’t been arson on that scale.”

In an in-depth interview, the Taoiseach also discussed calls for the Irish Women’s basketball team to boycott their upcoming matches against Israel, his plans for his upcoming White house visit and opinion polls showing a large drop in support for Sinn Féin.

Credit to : Newstalk

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