Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Travellers must leave Galway site today

THE GALWAY Traveller Movement has called for cross-departmental commitment to resolve Traveller accommodation issues, following the continued impasse over halting sites in Galway city.

An 11-strong group of Traveller families with 28 young children are due to leave a temporary halting site in the city today, as a result of a High Court order obtained by the local authority.

The site, which is the subject of a Bord Pleanála appeal for planning approval, is due to remain open until November – but only four families are permitted to stay there until then.

The 11 families ordered to leave by today have said they will respect the court decision.

However, they believe that they are being singled out by the local authority for taking legal action earlier this year over their right to a nomadic lifestyle. The Delaney, Stokes and Corcoran families say they will inevitably attract complaints from residents wherever they go, and that they are anxious to keep their children in primary school.

The 11 families have long maintained that they do not want to live in housing, as this is not part of their culture – and they moved out of temporary housing after the suicide of one of their group.

Earlier this year, Galway city councillors voted to remove provision of halting sites from its Traveller accommodation plan for 2009-14, with one councillor, Donal Lyons (Ind), describing such hard stands as a “failed concept”.

The city manager warned at the time that the decision, which was supported by all but four of the 15 councillors, could be open to legal challenge.

That ruling is to be the subject of a judicial review later this year.

Irish Times


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