A proposal to build Traveller accommodation on sites in one of Ireland’s wealthiest areas was passed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council last night.
The draft Traveller accommodation plan – which includes 11 sites across the south Dublin area – was given the go-ahead as 16 councillors voted in favour and 10 against.
There were 147 submissions made to the proposals before the closing date of December 22nd, and nine were received after the deadline.
In addition, a petition signed by 186 people accompanied the submission that called for a Mount Anville Road site in Mount Merrion to be sold and used to pay for a Glenalbyn swimming pool.
The controversial site with views of Dublin Bay has been proposed for Traveller accommodation since 1985.
Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2014-2018 describes Mount Anville as suitable for five group housing units and was at “pre-design stage”.
The site received the highest number of submissions opposed to the plan.
Local Labour councillor Jane Dillon Byrne said she was happy to support the programme despite threats from a resident to call to her house in the early hours of the morning if there was were problems with a local suggested site.
“Travellers are people like everyone else,” she said.
Fine Gael councillor Barry Saul said 92 people and one resident association made submissions against the Mount Anville Road site.
“I’m very disappointed with the result as it will have a direct effect on the future funding of our capital programme.”
He added: “Our ability to fund new libraries, playing pitches and community facilities will be directly affected by the decision to include the Mount Anville site.”
Labour councillor Donna Pierce said the council had a duty to provide housing for people and “not everything was about money”.
The sites on the draft Traveller accommodation plan are at Cloragh in Rathfarnham; Enniskerry Road in Sandyford; Glenamuck Road in Kiltiernan; Lehaunstown near Cherrywood; Pottery Road in Dún Laoghaire; Rathmichael Road near Cherrywood; Stillorgan Grove in Stillorgan; the West Pier at Dún Laoghaire Harbour; and a site at UCD.
Director of housing
Director of housing for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Tom McHugh said the developments would be funded by the Department of Environment.
Mr McHugh said the plan had changed slightly to include more group housing in place of halting sites. This was done so as it was the preference of the southside Traveller families.