Bowing to public pressure, Galway Corporation has abandoned work on a Traveller halting site at Rahoon in favour of developing smaller Traveller camps around the city.
Work on the Rahoon site ceased due to the protests of local residents, spurring students from the Social Action Movement at University College, Galway to denounce the Corporation’s decision and march in support of the Travellers.
At the same time, a counter-demonstration took place protesting against the proposed camp at Rahoon and against a decision to re-house a Traveller family in the Claddagh area of Galway.
Over a twenty year period, 12 Traveller families have been housed on Bóthar Mór in the suburbs of Galway city. These families and the original residents live peacefully together, which could also be the case in the Claddagh.
Paul O'Donovan of the Itinerant Settlement Committee is disappointed by Galway Corporation's move to abandon the Rahoon site in favour of smaller sites, which he points out, have yet to be agreed upon.
It is a most lamentable move it means the itinerants are being abandoned by the local authorities.
He believes the u-turn is not in the best interest of Traveller welfare and considers those responsible for it are self-serving and seeking political advantage.
Martin Hynes of the Rahoon Residents’ Association does not see the overturned decision as a victory as the Travellers will be distributed in other parts of Galway and residents there will also object.
If they can’t distribute them, they will come back to us.
He says if the local authority were to approach Galway residents and allow them to decide where the halting sites in their area should be,
Then there is a possible chance of success.
A ‘Newsbeat’ report broadcast on 29 October 1968. The reporter is Cathal O’Shannon.