Thursday 23 November 2017

Talks rumble on in row over halting site for fire survivors

Protesters in favour of the halting site hold placards
Protesters in favour of the halting site hold placards
The area proposed as a temporary halting site

Resistance to the building of a temporary halting site for the survivors of the Carrickmines fire tragedy continued last night following crunch talks with the council.

Residents of Rockville Drive in Dublin told council officials yesterday they were fearful of the effects of installing the Travellers' halting site in the midst of their quiet cul-de-sac on a long-term basis.

A residents' spokeswoman who attended the two-hour meeting with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown officials said they expressed several concerns about future activities generated by locating the halting site there.

The spokeswoman for the Kilternan Glenamuck Residents' Association claimed the nearby site on Glenamuck Road, where 10 people were killed in a blaze early on Saturday, was "believed to be temporary" when it opened eight years ago.

But a Travellers' group warned that "anger is festering" at the continued resistance of local people to the building of the proposed halting site.

Southside Travellers Action Committee director Geraldine Dunne said the funerals of the victims were coming soon and the grieving family members needed to be re-homed immediately.

"There is anger festering in the community and outrage in society at the current situation. It needs to be resolved peacefully. People need to put aside their own issues and understand the families need support and sympathy," she said.


Meanwhile, a counter-protest emerged at the Rockville Drive estate in south Dublin.

A group of around a dozen people carrying placards remained at the entrance of the small field in the cul-de-sac voicing support for the council proposal to build a halting site beside local houses.

The placard carriers said they did not live in Rockville but they had come from "within the borough" to support the Traveller families.

"The Connors family have nowhere to go," said one of the visiting protesters, a woman who gave her name as Susan (47).

"Their children go to local schools and they have a right to a home locally."

She said there was support from within the local area for the halting site proposal.

But local residents who spoke to the Herald said opposition was widespread locally to the new halting site. A 42-year-old father said people had hoped the council-owned field would be a playground for children.

Another man said the narrow residential road was not suitable for caravans and vans to be using the road regularly.

A council statement said constructive engagement with residents was continuing.

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