Call to change policy on Traveller accommodation

Thursday 30 January 2014 00.18
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Many halting sites have been closed due to vandalism
Many halting sites have been closed due to vandalism
28% of sites built since 2005 have been closed
28% of sites built since 2005 have been closed

The rate of destruction of Traveller accommodation provided by Dublin City Council has led to calls for the policy to be re-examined.

A total of 282 houses and halting bays have been built, but 79 have been closed due to vandalism since 2005, 28% of the total.

In addition, three community centres in Ballyfermot, Coolock and Finglas have either been destroyed or closed due to damage.

The destruction is often the result of feuds.

Dublin City Council housing manager Dick Brady recently told a council meeting: "The vast majority of Travellers are ordinary decent people trying to make their way from A to Z, but there are elements who go out of their way to stop that."

Fine Gael councillor Ruairi McGinley has called for the policy of Traveller-only accommodation to be re-examined.

Mr McGinley pointed out that some of the incidents had caused damages running into millions of euro.

He also said that Traveller families could be housed through the normal housing list. Over 200 had done so without incident, he said.

However, People Before Profit councillor Brid Smith said that Travellers are entitled to regeneration and anti-social activity had not halted such schemes in Moyross or St Teresa's Gardens.

Collette Spears of the Irish Traveller Movement said there is an issue of estate management.

She said in other estates gardaí or the local authority would intervene in the case of anti-social behaviour by a tenant.

"But there is an attitude that Travellers have to self-police," she said.