Call for ‘courage’ on Traveller housing plan

FOUR years after a plan to provide Traveller accommodation in Waterford city failed to have any impact, a city councillor has called for “courage and leadership” to ensure the latest plans come to fruition.

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane, who sits on the local Traveller accommodation consultative committee, says he believes the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme for 2005-2008 demands visible support.

“I would call on all councillors to show courage and leadership on this issue because everyone has the right to be housed.

“The Travellers have a need and it is our responsibility to see that need is met in the city,” Mr Cullinane added.

Much of the draft programme is similar to the city’s 2000-2004 programme, which despite being adopted by the previous Council, did not result in any new accommodation for the city’s 145 Traveller families. Of these, 30 are currently on a housing waiting list.

The new draft provides for 69 units of accommodation in the city - including 14 group housing units, 38 local authority houses, four standalone houses and six bays in a halting site.

There are currently has two halting sites in the city, a transient site at Bilberry and a permanent site at Kilbarry, but there has been continual rejection of any plans to develop accommodation in parts of the city.

“It’s our responsibility that if Travellers want to be housed we provide housing and if they want to live on a halting site, we provide space. Alternatively they will have to resort to parking on the side of the road,” Mr Cullinane said.

The director of housing and corporate affairs at Waterford City Council Paddy Power said delivery is now critical to the credibility of the Council.

“I think no matter where you go it’s inevitable that issues in relation to traveller community will arise as it’s an emotive issue. But that’s part and parcel of what we have to address and will be addressing over the forthcoming months,” he added.

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