There are calls for a new taskforce to be set up to address the complex issues linked to a ‘super’ Traveller halting site on Cork’s northside.
It comes as opposition mounts against city plans to build Traveller-specific housing on council land next to Spring Lane halting site.
Just days after a firefighter was injured when his crew was pelted with stones and rocks as they tackled a rubbish fire at the entrance to the halting site, it was confirmed yesterday the city’s draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019-2024 will come before councillors for discussion next month.
It suggests building a new group housing scheme on Ellis’s yard site, which is zoned solely for Traveller-specific accommodation, to alleviate the worst of the overcrowding on the Spring Lane site next door.
The halting site, which was built for 10 families, is now home to 38 families.
Fianna Fáil councillor Ken O’Flynn and Labour councillor John Maher said they have concerns about building Traveller-only housing on the yard site given the history in the area.
“We already have 28 families living in an unauthorised extension of the halting site. They should be evicted. I would have concerns that a ‘super’ halting site could develop in this area if the housing goes ahead on the yard site.
“The time has come to accept that the current approach to resolving long-standing issues at the halting site just isn’t working.
“We need a new taskforce, with honest brokers on both sides, to sit down and tackle this issue once and for all.”
Mr Maher said concerns of, and submissions from, residents in the area are being considered as part of the public consultation process on the draft Traveller accommodation programme.
Plans to extend the halting site into Ellis’s yard were voted down by the council in 2011. A failed consultative forum process was disbanded in 2012.
Former Minister of State Kathleen Lynch chaired an inter-agency group process in 2013. That also broke down. In 2014, she invited former South County Dublin Manager Joe Horan to examine the issue and draft solutions. Travellers went on to publish their own solutions document later that year.