Armed gardaí called to feud in Killarney

Armed gardaí called to feud in Killarney
File image.

The Garda armed response unit was called to the 200-house Ballyspillane estate in Killarney, Co Kerry, on Tuesday to deal with an ongoing dispute between rival Traveller sides in a Traveller dispute.

The latest flashpoint may have been sparked by a fight involving six women in a retail premises away from Ballyspillane in which four women allegedly set upon two other women on Monday afternoon.

The following day, rival gangs faced off in the estate with Travellers from outside the area arriving in cars.

Gardaí patrolled the estate overnight but tensions remained high.

Last April, a family was forced to flee their home after a firebomb attack. Homemade weapons were also found.

Independent councillor Donal Grady who has been outspoken on the feud which he said the feud is deeply upsetting for the many decent many families in Ballyspillane and that the army now needed to be called in.

“I have had several calls from people living up there, and they were absolutely scared, in fear of their lives. It is time the army was brought in. It is time something was done,” he said.

A delegation of residents went before Kerry County Council’s May meeting of the municipal district council to demand action to tackle an ongoing and violent feud. They called for more street lighting and better roads and footpaths.

Brigid Quilligan of the Kerry Traveller Movement has also spoken out in recent months saying the feud was having “a massive effect” on morale and on the wider Traveller community.

Only a very small number of those living in the 216-house estate, or those living and nearby are involved, said Ms Quilligan.

The feud is believed to have started over something very minor and relationships have disintegrated badly in just under two years.

Forty years old this year, the Ballyspillane council estate was controversial from the start. Built over a mile from Killarney town centre, it was put in place without proper footpaths, far from shops and other amenities.

Since then, however, Killarney has grown eastwards to meet it. Sports clubs, a swimming pool, shops, and restaurants are now within a stone’s throw. Many of Ballyspillane’s houses are now privately owned, while a strong residents’ association has developed.

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