Opinion Analysis

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Emer O'Kelly: Some joined-up thinking needed on traveller sites

It makes sense to sell off the premium plots and use that money to finish the ghost estates, writes Emer O'Kelly

Emer O'Kelly

Years ago, when I was house-hunting, I was planning to look at a little house on Pottery Road in Dun Laoghaire. Someone who lived vaguely in the area (about two miles away) said to me when she heard about it: "For God's sake, you can't buy a house there. They're going to put travellers in." It sounded as though the travellers were going to be scooped up in a huge net, and dropped in a floundering, messy heap on the ground. I was unimpressed.

But it's a kind of reverse racism to defend traveller families who behave anti-socially, and expect to get away with it in the name of their "traveller culture". Generations of harsh living conditions on the road may have created a propensity for alcohol abuse and a life expectancy well short of the national average in the traveller community, but that doesn't excuse bellowing fights and neighbour intimidation with bottles flying at two in the morning. That's unacceptable.

Pottery Road is one of 11 sites listed in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council's Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2014-2018. Draft, you'll note. There are still no travellers living on Pottery Road.

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