Several homeless Traveller families who were asked to vacate emergency accommodation in a hotel yesterday refused to leave Cork City Hall until their housing needs were addressed.
City officials spent the day trying to source alternative accommodation for the 21 adults and 31 children, who range in age from six-month-old twins to teenagers, some of whom spent the day in the lobby of City Hall.
They had been staying in 16 rooms and an apartment in the four-star Kingsley Hotel on Carrigrohane Road since they told City Hall that their caravans at the Carrigrohane Rd halting site had been extensively damaged during Storm Eleanor earlier this month.
The accommodation costs were being covered by the Department of Social Protection.
They were asked to leave the hotel on Wednesday night after alleged antisocial behaviour on the premises.
The hotel was not available for comment.
It is understood there were a number of minor issues linked to the behaviour of some of the children, but there were serious concerns about the behaviour of some of the adults using the residents’ bar.
The Travellers in City Hall said they did not want to be named amid fears of discrimination.
A mother of two children, aged two and four, accepted that some of the children had been “running up and down corridors, banging on doors and messing in the lifts”, and that some other individuals had caused a disturbance, but she said it was unfair that all 11 families had been asked to leave.
She said they all had to pack their bags and leave around 5pm and then find their own accommodation.
“We were scattered all over the city,” she said.
She finally secured a room for her family in the Maryborough Hotel just after midnight. Another family got a room in the Montenotte Hotel.
She said children are missing school.
“They are treating us like dogs. We just want stable homes,” she said.
One of the men said the famalies were promised new accommodation after the halting site was swamped by the 2009 flood, but nothing has happened.
Another, who lived on the site for 24 years, said: “In the long-term, we need proper, livable homes. We don’t want to go back to the site.”
A spokesperson for City Hall said last night: “The families are looking after their own accommodation tonight after a previous emergency accommodation solution broke down. Cork City Council has arranged for the substantial damage to their mobile homes to be assessed.
“The council is awaiting receipt of the assessor’s reports. Any replacements can only be facilitated subject to available funding.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved