Friday 23 February 2018

Illegal camp sites cleared

The scene on Monday morning at the Racecourse Road after illegal campers moved from the site on Sunday afternoon
The scene on Monday morning at the Racecourse Road after illegal campers moved from the site on Sunday afternoon

Anne Campbell

ILLEGAL encampments that had sprung up at the Racecourse Road and at Whiterath earlier this month have moved after Louth County Council and gardai joined forces to enforce prohibition orders.

Controversy erupted last week after it was revealed that there was a deadlock between the council and gardai about prohibition orders signed by the local authority earlier this year that were meant to prevent temporary dwellings at the very sites that were occupied since the start of August.

The incursions on to the land at Whiterath, on a disused road near the dog pound, and at the Racecourse Road near Ath Leathan, arose after a site, which had been illegally camped on for months at the Marshes, was finally cleared earlier this month.

Fianna Fail councillor Conor Keelan went public with the issue after a number of residents at the Racecourse Road complained about the illegal camping close to their Ath Leathan homes. In the Argus last week, Cllr. Keelan called for the council and gardai to work together to ensure the prohibition order was enforced.

Last Thursday, council officials, along with gardai and members of a council-contracted agency, went to the sites and advised those there about the prohibition orders. It is understood those occupying the caravans said they needed a couple of days to move and kept their word, leaving the sites on Sunday afternoon.

In addition, the council has moved to secure both sites, with large concrete boulders being placed at the entrance to the Racecourse Road field, ahead of a more permanent locked gate being erected.

Cllr. Keelan said he 'greatly welcomed' the resolution to the situation, which had caused 'great concern to residents' at the Racecourse Road. He said: 'I'm very happy there has been co-operation between the state agencies to enforce the prohibition order and I take confidence in that happening.

'There is immense relief for the residents and I'm also pleased to see that measures have already been put in place to block any further attempt at an incursion at this site. I look forward to seeing a permanent locked gate here as well as the planned erection of a notice about the existence of the prohibition order'.

The Argus

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