Labre Park has been built for the Traveller community and some families have chosen to give up the nomadic life to settle there.
The Commission on Itinerancy Report published in 1963 recommended the assimilation of Travellers into the settled community. With an estimated eleven hundred Traveller families in the Republic of Ireland, this is a process that will take many years.
Six years on, thirty nine families have been re-housed in Labre Park in Ballyfermot by the Itinerants Resettlement Committee. The first site built for Travellers by an Irish local authority, it opened in September 1967. Consisting of serviced caravan sites and chalet-type buildings the families pay rent to Dublin Corporation.
A further thirty three families currently live on similar sites in the Dublin city area, with eight more now resident in local authority housing schemes. Voluntary groups have been assisting county councils in all cases.
Mary Wall a mother of twelve children has been at Labre Park for two years. Having lived in a caravan and travelled all over Ireland for twenty years, she finds life easier in the city,
Went from place to place, travelled all over Ireland. It isn’t a good life on the road. There’s a terrible lot of hardship.
Her older children have mixed feelings about living in a house, but staying in one place means that the younger children can now attend school.
Here now, they’ve never missed a day.
Having always had good relationships with the local people wherever her family went, Mary praises the settled community in Ballyfermot who she says are,
Very good people around here...if they get to know you. They’ll do anything for you.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 December 1969.