Friday 24 February 2017

Petition with over 5,500 names calling for Traveller housing rights delivered to Dail

Nicola AndersonNicola Anderson

Aodhán Ó Riordan
Aodhán Ó Riordan

ONE month on from the horrific blaze in Carrickmines, a petition calling for proper housing and rights for Travellers and signed by over 5,500 people was delivered to Junior Minister Aodhan O’Riordan today.

Ten Travellers wearing black representing the ten lives lost in the fire delivered the letter addressed to the Taoiseach calling for an National Traveller Independent Agency to implement Traveller policies. They held signs saying “Traveller lives matter.”

They carried signs saying #TravellerLivesMatter, led by Pavee Point.

Martin Collins, Pavee Point Co Director said the bereaved families – who are in a “state of devastation” have been treated in a “very despicable, disrespectful and undignified fashion” and have been used as a political football.

“I think the objections of the people in Rockville Drive, blocking the council from developing an alternative site were absolutely obscene and shameful,” he added.

He called on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Co to offer the families the same assurance that the temporary site would be decommissioned in six months time – that they had given to the residents of Rockville Drive.

Mr Collins said: “What happened in Carrickmines cannot happen again. In the month since the Carrickmines fire tragedy we have seen the bereaved Traveller families housed in an un-serviced car park because of residents’ objections.

“We have seen a lot of solidarity with Travellers but we have also seen a lot of Hate Speech against Travellers.”

“Travellers cannot be allowed to experience discrimination, degradation and to be forced to live in sub-standard conditions for another generation. We need to see results. A Traveller agency is needed to drive progress in an accountable and transparent way, turning policy into action.”

As the petitions were handed in, Traveller Selina O’Leary sang a version of “A Change is Gonna Come”.

Tessa Collins said we shouldn’t be waiting for tragedies to happen to highlight the lack of action for Travellers on behalf of the Government.

Paddy Reilly from Finglas said “Enda Kenny wouldn’t live in a field” so he should not expect Travellers to be happy to live in substandard accommodation.

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