Prosecutions are unlikely against those responsible for a new wave of illegal dumping activity around a €5m purpose-built Traveller housing estate close to Apple’s European headquarters in Cork.
The admission came from city officials last night who said round-the-clock security would be required around the estate in Hollyhill to gather enough evidence that would stand up in court to secure a conviction.
Security cameras installed nearby to overlook the estate have also been subject to repeated damage and vandalism, said officials.
However, city council cleaning crews have been tasked on several occasions in recent weeks to remove material dumped on land immediately east of the housing estate.
The dumped material includes suites of furniture, kitchen chairs, several white goods, plastic toys and containers, tyres, carpets, and metal.
Bonfires have also been lit in piles of wood which have been dumped against the housing estate’s perimeter fence.
The estate was developed by the city council in 2013 and 2014 on a greenfield site opposite the Apple Computers plant to house the members of 16 families who lived in the former St Anthony’s Park halting site about 200m away.
The council wanted the residents of the ageing and crowded halting site to relocate to the new homes so that it could implement a package of measures, which included the construction of a new road and a rezoning, to facilitate a significant expansion of the vast Apple campus.
Round-the-clock Garda security on the housing estate building site cost taxpayers at least €300,000.
It was unveiled in 2015 and is one of the largest such Traveller housing schemes in Cork.
It has seven one-bed bungalows, three three-bed houses, three four-bed houses, and nine spacious bays for caravans. The bays are each equipped with a standalone welfare unit which includes a kitchen/dining area, a living area, a utility room, a bathroom, and generous storage space.
The homes came with solar panels and stoves with back boilers to maximise energy efficiency, built-in wardrobes, fully-fitted kitchens, and flooring provided throughout.
A new community centre was built to house community initiatives such as a homework club, computer literacy courses, learner driver courses, and boxing, but it was vandalised within months of opening.
The green areas were landscaped with undulations, bumps, and hollows to prevent the parking of caravans and to deter the grazing of horses.
However, the members of three families on the halting site refused to move into the new homes and a standoff over facilities for horses and possible disturbance money ensued.
Talks took place over several weeks and agreement was finally reached which saw all Traveller families relocate to the new housing estate in June 2015.