Irish police are investigating a criminal damage incident after a fire broke out on Saturday night at a Galway hotel due to house 70 asylum seekers. 

Gardaí said the fire broke out at the Ross Lake House hotel in Rosscahill, around 20 km from Galway City, at around 11:35 p.m. on Saturday. Emergency services were called to the scene shortly afterward and brought the fire under control. 

Nobody was inside the building when the fire broke out, but the hotel, which has been closed for years, was due to accommodate around 70 asylum seekers starting from Thursday, December 21. 

Gardaí have preserved the scene and a technical examination will take place. 

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have information regarding this incident to contact them at Clifden Garda Station 095 22500 the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

Protests broke out outside Ross Lake House on Saturday after the Department of Integration announced on Friday that it planned to house around 70 International Protection Applicants at the hotel. 

Ross Lake House, which is privately owned, has not been used for years but has been offered a one-year contract to house International Protection Applicants. 

Several demonstrators formed a blockade at the entrance to the hotel on Saturday afternoon as part of a protest against the Government's plans to house asylum seekers there. 

Protestors claimed that the hotel was an inappropriate location for refugees. 

Images of the hotel engulfed in flames surfaced on social media on Saturday night. 

Breaking: Ross Lake House Hotel in Galway which was earmarked to host 70 state-sponsored migrants against the wishes of the local community and the overwhelming majority of Irish people is now on fire.

— Gearóid Murphy (@gearoidmurphy_) December 17, 2023