Man offers council deal to remove caravan from Limerick site

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

Man offers council deal to remove caravan from Limerick site

Willie Clarke, left, and Shane O'Donoghue

A RHEBOGUE man has offered to move into a derelict home in the area’s Traveller site – in return for moving from his caravan.

Willie Clarke, 22, has been locked in a row with Limerick Council over the presence of his and his wife Bridie’s caravan in the Rhebogue site.

The council has ordered his caravan must move “under health and safety regulations”.

They also say the land adjacent to St Patrick’s GAA Club is not a halting site “as there are no bays for caravans or mobile homes”.

It’s actually called a “Traveller Specific Group Housing Scheme,” a spokesperson says.

But Willie has rejected this, claiming that Google Maps refers to his home as being on the Rhebogue halting site.

“You can see it’s a halting site. If this was a housing scheme, there would be no barriers,” he explained.

Willie, who has lived in the site since he was seven years of age, says he will remove the caravan if the council allow him to go into the last remaining permanent home on site – but the council, he says, has refused, saying it is down for demolition. He says he is facing homelessness.

“My wife Bridie gets depressed. She gets very upset and low. If we get put on the side of the street, it’s no good. I don’t want to be homeless. If they move this caravan away [with no alternative] then I’m on the streets. Or I’d be sleeping in my car,” he said.

Willie said he would do the repairs to the permanent home himself, saving the council money.

Meanwhile, Willie’s friend Shane O’Donoghue is also facing having his caravan removed.

He says he does not think it’s fair: “We are cleaning up the place. We do not do any anti-social behaviour or be reported to guards. They are taking a home from a home and putting us on the streets. It makes no sense.”

Council says it does not discuss the personal details of its customers in a personal forum – but they added the caravans are parked in Rhebogue without permission.

They say they will “continue to communicate to try and resolve this matter”.