Young families in Kildare unable to get local authority homes are living on a caravan site.

Kildare Town caravan site residents are putting up with primitive amenities in the hope of securing local authority housing. The thought has been that one way to move up the local authority housing list is to set up home in a caravan. For many young home hunters, caravan living is a cheaper, but temporary housing option.

This does not always work out however, as residents in Flanagan's Caravan site in Kildare Town are finding out. The site on the Dublin Road is home for 13 families. It is not a county council serviced site and as such offers tenants ramshackle caravans and primitive amenities.

Each family is charged £5 a week rental for a caravan and £1.50 ground rent. There is no electricity on the site and the lighting and heating is run by gas. Some caravans have solid fuel stoves.

Residents Mr and Mrs Ryan and their six children live in cramped, damp conditions. They have been on the Council housing waiting list for two years and have no idea when they will get a house. Mrs Ryan is resigned to caravan living,

I have no other choice, there’s nowhere else I can go.

The caravan site is owned by Paddy Flanagan who admits some of the caravans are in poor condition. Rather than repairing the caravans he plans to replace them with chalets.

Kildare County Manager Gerry Ward thinks the caravan dwellers stand a good chance of being housed as the Council is building a scheme of 35 homes with a further 17 to be added. The council has also approached the Minister for Local Government about 18 vacant houses owned by the Irish Development Authority (IDA) in Kildare Town.

The council would like to get possession of these houses so that tenants could be appointed by the council.

Kildare County Council looks unfavourably on caravan sites as there is a perception that people move into caravans to qualify for houses, believing they will have an advantage over people who live in inferior fixed housing accommodation. He does not condone inferior caravan sites offering substandard living facilities. He is adamant uniform standards and controls are needed for caravan parks.

A 'Newsround’ report broadcast on 16 January 1977. The reporter is Colm Connolly. The presenter is Peter McNiff.