ON the face of it, the action by residents of a south Dublin housing estate in blocking access to a plot of land earmarked as temporary accommodation site for survivors of last weekend’s halting site fire seems heartless and uncaring.
That, at least, has been the reaction of both Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Martin Collins, co-director of Pavee Point, the support organisation for Travellers.
There is little doubt that the blockade added to the trauma and distress of those who lost friends and loved ones in the horrific fire, which claimed the lives of 10 Irish citizens.
It also contrasts markedly with the outpouring of sympathy and support shown to the bereaved families by members of both the settled and Travelling communities.
Yet, it is hard to imagine that the blockade reflects what Collins described as the “worst depths of hostility and hatred that I have ever witnessed towards my community”.
Residents have said that they were not consulted on the plans and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council yesterday promised them that the site will only be used for six months, a move which should allay their fears.
It is too easy to demonise those involved as exhibiting nothing less than knee-jerk discrimination and bigotry.
However, that would do a great disservice to efforts at enhancing harmony between both communities.
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