A county councillor has claimed some of her colleagues conspired to prevent an elderly Traveller couple being given a county council house in north Cork.
Cllr Melissa Mullane claimed some County Hall members recently lobbied executive staff to prevent the allocation of a house to the couple.
She also claimed a member of council staff had told her there was a fear the couple would be “burned out” of the house by neighbours if they moved in.
The Sinn Féin councillor made the comments at yesterday’s full council meeting after seeking a report on the number of Travellers being housed by the local authority.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey said he was unaware of her claims.
But Cllr Mullane said: “We have had issues in Carrickmines, now we have the same thing here,” in reference to how relatives and neighbours of the 10 who died in the fire at the halting site in Dublin were allegedly prevented by locals from getting temporary accommodation at a nearby estate.
“They are an elderly couple. How long more are they going to have to stay on the side of the road. There’s another freezing winter coming,” she said.
Cllr Mullane had sought a report on the recent funding allocated to Cork County Council for the purchase of social housing units for Traveller accommodation across the county.
Mary Ryan, director of the council’s housing services, said in recent times the local authority had purchased two properties under the Traveller Accommodation Programme.
Ms Ryan said it should be noted that Cork County Council has a good record in providing standard housing for Travellers and also, to date, 13 families have been accommodated under the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP).
She said plans were also in place for providing houses and adjoining bays at a halting site in Doneraile.
Ms Ryan said that three social housing units had been allocated to Traveller families so far this year.
Two were from the council’s own housing stock and the third was acquired from a voluntary housing organisation. “The support of the broader community is essential for the integration of Traveller families into standard accommodation,” Ms Ryan added.
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