Travellers in Cork have called for the removal of a local councillor from the city’s Traveller accommodation committee.
Residents of the Spring Lane halting site took the unprecedented step of writing to members of Cork’s Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee (LTACC) calling for the removal of Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn.
“We can no longer accept the LTACC as a committee working to improve Traveller accommodation with Mr O’Flynn as part of this,” they said.
Mr O’Flynn has been a vocal critic of some residents of the site, and has been accused by Travellers of stoking anti-Traveller sentiment.
In their letter, the residents said Mr O’Flynn has not helped advance the committee’s work, has taken “every opportunity to run the residents of Spring Lane down, especially in the media”, and blocked improvements to and around the halting site.
They also accuse him of spreading “deliberate, hurtful, false information” during a recent interview, of using “almost every imaginable anti-Traveller stereotype”, and trying to “turn the people of Cork against us”.
Mr O’Flynn said he is taking legal advice over elements of the letter, and that, despite threats he says he has received from some Travellers, his door is open to help members of that community.
“This will in no way impede me from speaking my truth, and the truth of the people I represent,” he said.
LTACC chairman, Green Party councillor Oliver Moran, said the letter will be discussed at the committee’s next meeting on Tuesday.
“I’ve been advised there are no standing orders to remove a member of council from a committee, and also that there is no memory of precedents to do so,” he said. “It is not within the remit of the committee to do so.”
He said he has a responsibility to ensure that every member of the committee is fairly heard.
“It’s through fair and reasonable dialogue that we resolve all conflicts when they arise. That’s how I intend to approach this agenda item also,” he said.