Families evicted from illegal halting site in Co LouthFriday 15 January 2016 22.42
Representatives of the Louth Traveller movement say they have reached an agreement with Louth County Council, in relation to accommodating people evicted from an illegal halting site in Dundalk.
In a meeting this evening, representatives said they reached an agreement that the council would work with them to secure long-term specific Traveller accommodation.
In the meantime arrangements will be made to support people finding temporary accommodation in the private rental sector.
The council has organised B&B accommodation for three families.
Another family has been accommodated by their solicitor who stepped in in the absence of alternative accommodation.
It is understood that the remaining residents of the site are organising their own accommodation over the weekend.
In a statement this evening, the council said there will be a review of the Louth Traveller Accommodation Programme and the "provision of permanent Traveller-specific accommodation will be progressed as quickly as possible".
The statement added that both the council and Traveller representatives at the meeting recognised that it could take up to three years to provide this.
A Traveller-specific clinic will be held each week to assist those who want to make an application for such accommodation.
Separately, it has emerged that one person was arrested for public order offences during the eviction of residents from Woodland Park.
Gardaí arrived this morning to enforce an order under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1994.
The site used to be an official halting site but was closed a number of years ago.
Up to today at least seven mobile homes and 16 touring caravans were located on the site and it was home to more than 20 families.
Members of the Garda armed support unit and public order officers were on the site overseeing the eviction.
Gardaí say the eviction operation has not been completed, but there is no Garda presence apparent at the site this evening.
A number of caravans and mobile homes were removed earlier today and one was damaged by fire in an apparent protest over the eviction.
Louth County Council said the decision to seek the removal of the occupants from the site was based solely on its concerns for health and safety.
Pavee Point has said the evictions are unnecessary and unwarranted.
Co-Director Martin Collins said: "This is one of coldest nights of the year and these people have nowhere to go."
He said the council had failed in its duty and called on Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly to intervene and compel the council to provide alternative accommodation for 17 Traveller families.
Mr Collins accused the council of trying to "force Travellers into social or private housing and this is in total breach of the 1998 Traveller Accommodation Act"