Thursday 22 February 2018

Traveller families involved in illegal airport camp move to beach site

Galway Airport
Galway Airport
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A GROUP of Traveller families who had moved from Galway airport to the city’s council offices on Friday have now moved on to a nearby beach.

The nine families, including 15 children and a number of pregnant women were illegally encamped at City Hall for the past few days after they had been moved on by gardai from Galway airport on Friday afternoon.

They were served with a letter yesterday morning ordering that they remove themselves from the City Hall carpark. Following this the families moved for fourth time this year, this time to Ballyloughane Beach.

It is understood a bollard at the beach was removed which had been stopping access to vehicles.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council said it  currently had 4,600 households on the Social Housing waiting list, representing more than 10,000 children and adults.

He warned the demands of the nine families could not over-ride the needs of all the others on the list.

“Galway City Council has limited capacity and limited resources to deal with the housing situation in the city. The Council’s housing allocation scheme is and has to be administered in accordance with the housing allocation scheme.

“The scheme is based on the principles of proportionality and fairness and the demands of the nine families cannot over-ride all other families’ rights, including Traveller families currently on the housing waiting list (some of whom have been on the list for over 10 years.,” the statement added.

The families had been living at an illegal site at the side of the road in Knocknacarra for the past few weeks after they had been evicted from private lands at Carrowbrowne where they had been living for six months.

Father-of-four John Cleary has been on the housing list for the past 10 years. He turned down the offer of a house last year over concerns about anti-social behaviour in the estate.

“I don’t want to bring my kids up in a place like that,” he said.

Mr Cleary said he would happily remain in the caravan while waiting if the council could provide them with a site and facilities.

“We’ve a two bed caravan and we’re doing fine in it. We can manage fine as we are if we just have facilities. The council say I’m only eligible for a four-bed house. A three-bed would be perfect for us and but they won’t give us one, they say we have to wait for a four-bed,” he added.

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