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Dunsink barrier unjustifiable and unacceptable collective punishment

11 October, 2004


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has strongly criticised what he termed the "collective punishment" of the Traveller community on Dunsink Lane by the local authority, and called for the immediate removal of the concrete barrier blocking access to their homes.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Whatever the motivation or intention of the local authority, the practical effect of the barrier is the collective punishment of the entire Traveller community on Dunsink Lane for the actions of a minority of people from both the settled and Traveller community, who are using the Lane as an illegal dumping ground and are engaging in other criminal activity. This is wrong, and is a violation of this community's rights.

"The local authority's bad decision has been compounded over the past number of days by a provocative show of force by the Gardai, and by the refusal of either the new Minister for the Environment and Local Government or the Ministers with responsibility for Justice and Equality to get involved to reduce growing tensions in the area.

"I am calling on the local authority to admit their wrongdoing, immediately remove the barrier and engage properly with the Traveller community on Dunsink Lane. Failing any positive response from the County Council I would urge the relevant Government Ministers, with whom I and my party colleague Arthur Morgan TD tried to raise this issue last week, to immediately and cosntructively intervene so that tensions may be eased in the immediate term, and a satisfactory resolution to the issues found in the short term. In the longer term, some kind of mediated Traveller-settled community reconciliation process may be required to reestablish positive relations in the local area.

"Finally, I would also urge people from both communities to work together to end the practice of illegal dumping and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable." ENDS

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