Meath halting site residents fear a repeat of Carrickmines disaster

Residents fear tragedy at an over-crowded Meath halting site where, it is claimed, up to seven mobile homes are plugged into one electricity socket while kids play over live lying wires.

Residents living at St Patrick’s Park in Navan say they fear another Carrickmines disaster - which left 10 dead when fire swept through their homes in Dublin in 2015.

The scene after the fire at Carrickmines in 2015. Residents at a halting site in Navan fear a repeat as seven mobile homes are plugged into one electricity socket
The scene after the fire at Carrickmines in 2015. Residents at a halting site in Navan fear a repeat as seven mobile homes are plugged into one electricity socket

At present, there are 30 families living in cramped conditions in the halting site which was originally designed for 16 bays. A further 12 mobile homes are camped on the green, with nowhere else to go.

In addition to the fire hazards, residents say that many homes have no running water or toilet facilities and have to use an outside tap and portaloos.

"We can’t let our kids play outside because of five fallen wires, which we have to drive over and back every day for the school runs," said one resident.

"There are seven mobile homes hooked up to adapters which are all then plugged into the one socket. Some of the wires have been tied to nearby lampposts in an effort to keep them off the ground."

The resident said there was an issue recently where there was a blaze and the fire services struggled to get in because of the low overhead hanging wires. 

"Thankfully, everyone was okay but I think they were lucky this time. It’’s only a matter of time before tragedy strikes. There is a security camera at the gates that doesn’t work - if it did, it would catch those who use the site for illegal dumping, knowing that the council will come up with a skip and JCB and clean up after them. But we have to live with that rubbish.

"The council are aware of these issues but because we are living between a retail park and the countryside and there is no-one else but us in no man’’s land to complain, I feel we are out of sight, out of mind to them."

Meath Co Council said it was aware of the "unauthorised encampment of a number of Traveller families on the green area within the halting site".

"Previous engagement between Meath County Council’s Housing Department and the families concerned has failed to resolve the matter, with the unauthorised encampments remaining.

"There are currently 14 unauthorised caravans/mobile homes on the green area, though a number of vacant units are included within this number.

"An internal group with the Housing Department has been established to renew efforts to satisfactory resolve the situation, and minimise the legitimate concerns that exist. Meath County Council’s wish is to do so without recourse to legal proceedings.

"The first step in this process has been completed, with special housing clinics taking place over the course of a number of days between relevant Housing officials and the families concerned. The outcome of these assessments will form the basis of future interaction, and are currently being reviewed."

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