Council critical of Traveller group
'It is a matter of serious concern that Sligo Traveller Support Group, a group in receipt of considerable public funding, should put false and misleading information into the public domain', according to Bartley Gavin, Acting Director of Services with Sligo County Council, commenting on recent statements by STSG in respect of families living at the Lr. Connaughton Rd. Car Park.
"The Council has always been and continues to be available to the Traveller Support Group and it is disappointing that they now seek to communicate regarding the Connaughton Road families by way of putting false information into the public domain," he said, stating that a number of statements by the group in The Sligo Champion edition of 14th May were factually wrong.
"The actions of Sligo County Council did not force the families to move the caravans closer to one another.
"The caravans were left precisely where the families had located them and this fact was communicated to the Traveller Support Group be e-mail on the 30th April. As the caravans were not moved or forced to be moved by the Council, there was no impact from a fire safety perspective.
"It is also noted that the article is silent on the numerous fires at the site to extract copper from wire, fires that cause considerable disturbance to the adjoining properties and which the Fire Service is obliged to respond to despite intimidation and violence from some of the residents.
"In one case, the Council's Fire crew was attacked and a Fire Tender damaged when responding to a caravan that was deliberately set on fire by a resident. This case resulted in proceedings being taken against the resident and a successful conviction.
"It is totally inappropriate to suggest the Council should inform councillors and the media in respect of offers of accommodation.
"These are matters between the Council and housing applicants and will remain so.
"However, I can confirm that reference to the withdrawal of offers is completely false.
"While I cannot divulge details regarding any offers or our engagement with the families concerned, I can confirm that the Council has gone to the very limit of what it can do to attempt to provide quality accommodation for the families currently residing at Connaughton Road.
Sligo County Council does not propose to issue further media statement in relation to these issues," said Mr Gavin.