A CONTROVERSIAL Limerick city halting site is to remain open, despite the majority of its residents wanting to leave.
Limerick City Council is tearing up its policy to close the Rhebogue Halting Site, opting instead to refurbish under the new Traveller Accommodation Plan.
The site has seen a Gardai-led raid, a slash-hook attack at the neighbouring GAA club, and continued anti-social behaviour in recent times.
There has been unanimous opposition to the plan from councillors, with Kieran O’Hanlon saying keeping the site open is a “squandering” of taxpayers’ money.
Four families in the five-unit development have asked to leave the site.
But the council said: “Having considered all the factors involved and the feasibility of delivering improved accommodation for the families, it is proposed the existing development be refurbished.”
And the authority said it will even consider adding an additional unit on the site.
The news will come as a blow to St Patrick’s GAA Club, which, they say, has struggled to recruit players due to its proximity to the site.
Only last year, an under-age match had to be abandoned after a member of the Travelling community entered the pitch wielding a slash-hook.
Cllr O’Hanlon, who lives close to the site, said around €500,000 will be spent if the refurbishment goes ahead.
“We have the best run GAA club in the city facing ongoing difficulties to get young players, and attract families bacause of this. It (the site) is a failure, and will never be a success. I am not going to stand over this squandering of taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Fellow city east councillor John Gilligan criticised the council for ignoring the wishes of those living on the site.
“We are telling them they cannot have that because we decide for you,” he stated.
And housing committee chair Cllr Tom Shortt added: “This stagnation does not resolve the problem. The very clear wish of the people on that site is to move on and it would help St Patrick’s GAA Club.”