Firefighters in Cork City have called for garda backup to call-outs near a halting site after a colleague was injured in a stone attack.
It is the third time in two years that a firefighter has been injured in the line of duty close to the Spring Lane halting site in Ballyvolane, on the city’s northside.
A massive illegal dump alongside the halting site, which was the source of most of the fires last year, was cleared in February.
But dumping in the area is on the rise again.
But in May, a security hut was burned out and staff were intimidated by a gang of masked men. Recently installed security lighting has also been damaged.
The latest attack on Monday, on the back of a spike in illegal dumping activity in the area, has prompted calls for a multi-agency crackdown on those responsible.
Unfortunately one of our crews came under attack last night while dealing with a fire in the Ballyvolane area.— Cork City Fire Brigade (@CorkCityFire) July 30, 2019
One firefighter was injured and was taken to hospital for treatment.
We wish our colleague a speedy recovery and thank the public for their continued support. pic.twitter.com/uhigIxiZYh
Outspoken Fianna Fáil Cllr Ken O’Flynn described Monday night’s attack on fire crews as “absolutely appalling behaviour”.
“How many more assaults and threats will go on before the gardaí drop the ‘softly, softly approach’ that has not worked?” he asked.
Worker’s Party Cllr Ted Tynan said he cannot understand the mentality of those involved in such attacks.
“The behaviour of some people on the Spring Lane halting site is to be condemned outright. The only people who can deal with this now are the gardaí,” he said.
The Traveller Visibility Group, which represents Traveller families on the halting site, was not available for comment yesterday.
The city council is understood to be pursuing up to 18 prosecutions arising out of their investigations into the illegal dumping incidents.
The Spring Lane halting site is one of the most overcrowded in the country. Several families are living in an authorised extension next to the site.
Council plans to build Traveller housing on Ellis’s yard is due to come before city council in September.