Cars and house damaged by fire in Traveller feud

Cars and house damaged by fire in Traveller feud

Two cars and a house were damaged by fire in a further serious eruption of an ongoing dispute between settled Traveller families in Killarney, Co Kerry.

Gardaí and the emergency services were called to two scenes in Ballyspillane at around 2.30am yesterday morning.

A 2018 car, parked in a driveway, was on fire and the blaze had caught the front porch area of the two-storey house. It is understood that four people were inside, including a grandfather, a grandmother as well as their son. A daughter was visiting them overnight and all were asleep in the house at the time of the attack.

A second car at a separate address in Ballyspillane was also set alight and badly damaged.

Killarney gardaí were yesterday seen taking drums of petrol from a house also in the eastern part of Killarney.

Local councillor Donal Grady has called for a stronger garda presence, saying the latest incidents were connected to the ongoing feud and both sides needed to stop.

The councillor has previously called for the army to be sent into Ballyspillane.

“There was a further serious incident about five weeks ago,” he said.

In July, a number of women were involved in a punch-up outside a retail premises in Killarney and, following this, rival gangs arriving in cars faced each other off in the estate.

In April, a family had to flee their home following an attack. Home-made weapons have also been confiscated.

The feud is believed to have evolved from a minor dispute around two years ago.

Legal sources say a number of people will be before the courts in the coming months. The charges being brought include assault, threatening and intimidating behaviour, and public order issues.

Yesterday, Supt Flor Murphy of Killarney gardaí said “extensive efforts” to resolve issues were under way by both the gardaí and Traveller agencies.

“Extensive efforts are being made with a view to resolving issues. The garda investigation and efforts to resolve matters is fully supported by the Traveller Mediation Service who are also involved. Gardaí will continue their investigations.”

Gardaí are appealing to anyone with information to contact them.

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