Tuesday 23 January 2018

Politicians refuse to call on locals to end Traveller blockade

A pro-halting site protester at the entrance to the proposed site at Rockville Drive in Carrickmines, Dublin
A pro-halting site protester at the entrance to the proposed site at Rockville Drive in Carrickmines, Dublin

Several prominent south Dublin TDs and local politicians, including a Government minister, have refused to ask protesters to call off their demonstration against the proposed temporary halting site at Rockville estate, in Carrickmines.

Local representatives contacted by the Herald - some of whom visited the scene of last Saturday's tragic fire to pay their respects - have given no indication of their position on the current stand-off.

Residents received a letter on Tuesday morning informing them that work would begin immediately on a plot of land in the Rockville estate to accommodate the 15 survivors of the blaze which claimed 10 lives, with the occupants expected to live on the site for eight months.


However, residents proceeded to block the entrance to the land as they objected to the manner in how they were told and feared the halting site would be a permanent settlement.

Talks between the homeowners in the area and the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council are at a stalemate after four days of negotiating.

Asked if the protesters should call off their demonstration, Communications Minister Alex White said: "All involved should continue their efforts to resolve this difficult situation as soon as possible."

In response to the same question, Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell said: "I have no comment whatsoever."

Ms Mitchell also refused to answer when asked if she was concerned that some of her constituents might conclude she was refusing to take a stance on an issue which was affecting people living in her area.

Independent TD Peter Mathews said the whole matter is "under negotiation" at the moment.

"The latest advice from the council shows that negotiations are proceeding and proceeding well," he said.

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter did not respond to a request for a comment, either through email or text message.

Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross also did not respond to a request for a comment.

Mr White, Mr Ross, Mr Mathews and Mr Shatter all attended the scene of the tragic fire in Carrickmines in the days after the disaster last week.

There are six county councillors in the local Glencullen-Sandyford ward.

Sinn Fein councillor Chris Curran said "it was time for cool heads" when asked if he felt the residents should stop their blockade, but he fell short of saying they should halt the protest.

Fine Gael's Neale Richmond refused to comment on the matter.

Councillors Kevin Daly (Independent), Lettie McCarthy (Labour), Peter O'Brien (Labour) and Tom Murphy (Fianna Fail) did not respond to requests for a comment.

Meanwhile, residents of Rockville Drive have revealed how several families have moved out of the estate for the time being until the matter surrounding the temporary accommodation of the halting site is dealt with.


A man living in the estate, who did not wish to be named, explained how seven households have left the area for the time being over fears of attacks due to their objections of the construction of the emergency site in their area.

Another homeowner revealed how he had spent several hundred euro purchasing security equipment in recent days over concerns his home may be targeted over the blockade.

"I bought a CCTV camera for €300, and it'll cost another €200 to get it installed. I'm concerned about a backlash over what is happening," he said.

"The site isn't suitable for several reasons and we're just not happy with the temporary accommodation being put here. It's gotten to the stage that I'm feeling intimidated over our position," he added.

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