Wednesday 28 September 2016

TDs told Travellers evicted since fire tragedy

Published 20/05/2016 | 02:30

Eamonn McCann, Mary Brigid McCann and Ronnie Fay were part of the Pavee Point delegation who visited Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Eamonn McCann, Mary Brigid McCann and Ronnie Fay were part of the Pavee Point delegation who visited Leinster House yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

Travellers have been evicted from halting sites due to the national fire safety audit carried out following the Carrickmines tragedy, TDs have been told.

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Pavee Point director Ronnie Fay said this had happened in Co Louth with fears for families at another site in Co Galway in the wake of the audit that was ordered after 10 members of the Connors, Lynch and Gilbert families lost their lives in last year's horrific blaze.

"Even though we received an assurance that the audits would not result in forced evictions, a number of evictions have taken place," she told the Dáil's Housing and Homelessness Committee.

She also said that in the aftermath of the fire "we had gone from bouquets to boulders within a week, which should not be forgotten". She was referring to an incident where one community blocked efforts to provide a temporary replacement site for survivors.

The Pavee Point representatives told TDs that poor health and life expectancy in the Travelling community were linked to substandard accommodation. It wants to see the establishment of a statutory Traveller Agency with powers to approve and enforce a five-year plan for accommodation.

Meanwhile, residents from a Tyrrelstown estate who face eviction after a 'vulture fund' bought the properties they rent later addressed the committee and appealed for help from the Government. "Come to our rescue from the hands of the vulture funds," spokeswoman and resident Funke Tobun said.

Sinn Féin TD Eoin O Broin said Tyrrelstown is just the tip of the iceberg. Some 40,000 mortgages have been bought by investors who will "sell them when it suits them", he said.

Irish Independent

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