A man in his 20s was arrested during a protest outside a former army barracks in Mullingar Co Westmeath, which is being used to accommodate asylum seekers.

The man was arrested for public order offences shortly after midnight.

He has since been released and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A bus carrying asylum seekers arrived at the former army barracks at around 1pm yesterday and was prevented from gaining entry.

A number of garda units attended the protest and at around 9pm last night they requested the crowd to disperse to allow staff enter the site.

Gardaí say a male garda was assaulted however he did not require medical treatment.

The crowd dispersed from the area after 1.30am.

However, they have since returned.

In February, the Department of Integration confirmed that 120 asylum seekers were to be accommodated in 15 tents at the former army barracks.

A protest has been ongoing outside the former barracks by a group opposed to the plan. The army barracks closed in Mullingar in 2012.

The 25-acre site, in the centre of the town, is now used by up to 30 community groups.

In a statement yesterday evening the Department of Integration said it was aware of an ongoing incident at Columb Barracks, and is liaising with An Garda Síochána.

"Over the past year, communities across Ireland have demonstrated great solidarity and welcome to those who have come here seeking refuge," the statement said.

"The Department strongly condemns any attempt to promote division and hostility".