Adams calls for end to Dundalk evictions
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised with the Taoiseach in the Dáil the decision by Louth County Council to evict 17 families, including at least 20 children, some of them babies, and two pregnant women, from the travelling community from the halting site at Woodland Park Dundalk.
The Louth TD said:
“The meetings between the Travellers from the Woodland Park site and the Council have ended tonight without a conclusion. The families are very dissatisfied with the approach of the council. The only alternative being proposed by the Council is private rented accommodation which many of the families are unhappy with. This is a direct attack on the rights and ethnicity of Traveller families. There is a housing crisis in Louth. 5,000 people are on the housing list. The eviction of these families is adding to this crisis.”
Teachta Adams continued:
“Louth County Council last Friday began a process of evicting Traveller families from a halting site at Woodland Park in Dundalk. This was done without consultation with councillors.
“The basis on which these evictions have been carried out is that a fire safety inspection had raised serious concerns about safety on the site.
“However, the Programme to Review Fire Safety in Traveller Accommodation that was published by the government on 2nd December 2015, following the Carrickmines tragedy, is very clear on this issue.
“It makes it clear that ‘nothing in this fire safety review process is intended to be used to address the broader Traveller accommodation issues in a negative way.’
“In other words, it was not a green light to evict Travellers from halting sites which do not meet fire safety standards. But this is exactly what Louth County Council is doing.
“More evictions are planned for tomorrow. The common sense and most cost efficient resolution to this issue is to urgently bring the halting site up to health and safety standards so that the families can stay in their homes.
“I have asked the Taoiseach to instruct the Minister for the Environment to ensure that Louth County Council abides by the recommendations of December’s fire safety review; and also, to urge Minister Kelly to use his authority as Minister for Local government to prevent any further evictions.”