Short-term solutions reached at Louth halting site meeting

Tuesday 19 January 2016 22.27
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One of the last traveller homes to be removed from the halting site
One of the last traveller homes to be removed from the halting site
The remaining families have been told they have until tomorrow to vacate Woodland Park site
The remaining families have been told they have until tomorrow to vacate Woodland Park site

A meeting between residents of the Woodland Park halting site and officials from Louth County Council has ended.

Residents say a number of short-term solutions have been reached, however they added they will not be forced into the settled the community.

Solicitor for the families Eleanor Kelly said the families have been given the option of moving to two other halting sites in Co Louth.

An auctioneer will also be made available tomorrow to show families rented accommodation available.

Speaking afterwards Rebecca Quinn, a spokesperson for the families, said some progress has been made.

However, she said tonight one family will be sleeping in a van and others will be sleeping in caravans on the roadside.

In a statement this evening Louth County Council said it is committed to working with representatives of Woodland Park towards a longer term solution

It said an agreement reached last Friday remains the central focus of its work on providing Traveller accommodation.

An earlier meeting, which was due to begin at midday, did not take place.

The families said officials refused to meet them, their solicitor and a political representative.

The council said it was not aware that the families were to be accompanied by political and legal representatives and the meeting could not go ahead on that basis.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the reason why the earlier meeting did not go ahead is because "the chief executive barred one of my senior constituency advisers and the solicitor for the Woodlawn Park residents from attending the meeting".

The Woodland Park site used to be an official halting site but was decommissioned by the council a number of years ago.

The council has been trying to evict 17 families who are living there, citing health and safety reasons.

The last mobile homes are being removed from the site.

Some of the families spent the weekend in B&B accommodation or with relatives and friends.