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Thursday 22 February 2018

Talks ease the impasse on new site for fire survivors

TRIBUTES: Flowers cover the entrance to tragic halting site
TRIBUTES: Flowers cover the entrance to tragic halting site
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A week after an inferno ripped through the Glenamuck Road halting site in Carrickmines killing 10 people, including a six-month-old baby, the devastated survivors of the Traveller families who died in the tragedy are now quietly optimistic they will soon be relocated to a temporary halting site in the area.

Geraldine Dunne, a spokeswoman for the Southside Travellers Action Group, said the 15 members of the Connors and Lynch families, who were left homeless when the fire broke out at the halting site last Saturday, welcomed a statement from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on Friday night that signalled progress has been made in a dispute with residents of Rockville Drive, who do not want the temporary halting site erected in a small green area at the end of their road.

"There remains a number of outstanding issues which require further clarification and discussion, and work will continue on these issues," the council said following a marathon meeting with the residents that started at noon on Friday and went well into the evening.

"Everyone is conscious of the need to provide an emergency site for the families of last week's tragedy as soon as possible." But Ms Dunne said the families, who are staying with friends in nearby Glencree, "are happy there's ongoing progress and hope to move in as soon as possible".

However, they remain completely shell-shocked by the horrific fire that razed the portable cabins in the compound within minutes as they prepare to bury their loved ones in separate funeral masses in Bray and Wexford next week.

"The families are physically and emotionally exhausted. Every day, every minute and every hour is difficult," she said.

Meanwhile, residents of Rockville Drive continued to all but block access to the proposed halting site with parked cars, allowing barely enough space for a garda car stationed at the end of the cul-de-sac to squeeze through.

One resident even measured the distance between parked cars amid concerns emergency vehicles wouldn't be able to get to their own houses should a fire break out.

Residents refused to discuss their blockade of the road, claiming the media has "twisted their words" except one woman who told the Sunday Independent they "don't trust the council" which has promised that the halting site would be dismantled after six months.

Sunday Independent

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