Traveller families vow to fight Limerick council eviction plan

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

FOUR traveller families living on lands just off the Dock Road have vowed to fight the council’s plans to remove them from the site.

FOUR traveller families living on lands just off the Dock Road have vowed to fight the council’s plans to remove them from the site.

It is understood the City Council has set a date of early April for the Travellers to be off the land, which borders the Bawney’s Bridge halting site, near the Roches Feeds factory.

A city councillor - who did not wish to be identified - said because the caravans do not lie on the halting site themselves, they are illegally parked.

This, they said, is why the council is taking action over an issue which has been a source of contention for a number of years.

But it has left the four families, including six children, furious, and they have said they will fight the plans.

John O’Driscoll says they were told last week that the council wanted them gone.

He says he cannot understand this, because the council has provided amenities to the families in recent years.

“The council cleaned this area up, gave generators, toilets and washing machines. Now they are saying they want us out - and not giving any option,” he said.

Mr O’Driscoll added: “These people do not want to move. They are happy to pay the rent, if it means they will be left alone.

Mary McCarthy, 70, who has lived on the site for seven years, says the stress has become too much for her.

“I have never lived in a house, and I think I have the right to stay in this caravan. Where will I go? I hope I get put to a good place. But whatever, I am staying in a caravan. I want to stay here, I have lots of friends and family here,” she said.

Mary says she is suffering from ill-health, saying: “I have had two hip replacements, and half my lung has gone.”

Mother-of-five Ann Hanley is worried for the future of her youngest daughter, who has just started secondary school, if they move.

“My 11-year-old daughter goes to school in the Mount. It is very hard to get her in and settled. If we move schools, she might not go,” she said, “I think it is unfair what they are doing with us. To put us out of a Traveller site when we are Traveller people is very wrong. We won’t be able to get private rented accommodation, it is too dear. I think the council are being cruel to be honest. I don’t think they really know what they are doing to us.”

Mrs Hanley feels the council should look at rehousing the families in another halting site across the city.

Limerick City Council were not available for comment as the Leader went to press.