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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Council seeks full-time 'security squad' to evict Travellers on illegal sites

Stock photo
Stock photo
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

An advocacy group has said it is "seriously concerned" over a plan to crack down on Travellers living on illegal sites in the capital.

A recently published tender document outlines that Dublin City Council (DCC) is looking to hire a seven-days-a-week security company to help the authorities with evictions of Travellers living illegally on private land.

It is also requesting additional help with seizing, euthanising and rehousing horses.

The plan is being organised under a proposed multi-­party framework agreement between all of Dublin's local authorities regarding the provision of security services in respect of Traveller accommodation units.

The tender document reads: "There may be requirements for the provision of security personnel seven days per week including seasonal/public and bank holidays in respect of the following tasks; serving notices and other correspondence, evictions from houses/sites to include illegally occupied lands or sites, removal of caravans and mobile homes and other general requirements."

It also acknowledges that from time to time there may be a requirement for security assistance in respect of "seizing horses, stabling horses, veterinary care, microchipping, putting down/knackery/disposal, re-homing of horses, accompany animal welfare operatives in the process of seizing and controlling of animals".

A spokesperson for DCC told the Irish Independent it seizes horses only where they are a danger to the public.

"We are not looking for vets to assist in putting them down. Every effort is made to rehome horses where possible," the spokesperson added.

Martin Collins, director of the Traveller rights advocacy group Pavee Point, said that the emphasis on "evictions from houses/sites" and "removal of caravans and mobile homes" is a "serious cause" for concern.

"Based on a cursory look at the tender document, we would expect that any tenders by Dublin's four councils would comply with their equality and human rights obligations under the Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 plus European and UN Conventions," he said.

"We will refer these tender documents to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to include in its equality review on the provision of Traveller accommodation, announced just last week.

"We would also suggest that no tender be agreed until we know the outcome of the current Independent Expert Review of the 1998 Traveller Accommodation Act, commissioned by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, is made known.

"Twenty years of failed accommodation policies has resulted in this crisis for Travellers," he said.

Irish Independent

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