€282m for Traveller housing was not spent, says Minister

Local opposition and concerns about antisocial behaviour blamed for underspend

Flowers left at the site of the fire that claimed 10 lives on the Glenamuck Road, Carrickmines. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Flowers left at the site of the fire that claimed 10 lives on the Glenamuck Road, Carrickmines. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Some €282 million allocated for Traveller accommodation over the last decade has not been spent by local authorities, Minister for State with Responsibility for Housing Paudie Coffey has said.

Many councillors had voted through proposals for Traveller accommodation but the councils have been slow to implement them, he said.

There was a great deal of community opposition, he stated, and suggestions of antisocial behaviour was an issue that “keeps coming up”, he told RTÉ Radio 1’s This Week programme on Sunday.

Travellers themselves often objected to allocated housing, he added.

Housing officials at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will meanwhile meet residents of Rockville Drive in south Dublin for a fifth time on Monday in the hope of getting agreement on council plans to put four mobile homes and two outhouses on a one-acre field adjacent to the cul-de-sac where they live.

Emergency site

The council wants to use this site for six months while it finds permanent accommodation for the grieving Travellers.

A council spokesman confirmed that a six-bungalow site in Shanganagh Road is being constructed but said it was not the council’s policy to speak of housing allocation to individuals. However, it is understood these could be used to provide permanent homes to the families left homeless after the fire.

Pavee Point is asking people to sign a letter to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, urging him to establish a Traveller Agency to drive urgent improvements in Traveller accommodation and implement existing policy in Traveller health, education and employment.

It is asking people to sign online via its website – paveepoint.ie and through Facebook and Twitter.

Funerals

The bodies of the five adults and five children were returned to their families on Friday night, having been formally identified using DNA and dental records.

The first of the funerals, that of Willie Lynch (25), his partner Tara Gilbert (27) and their children, Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4), will be held in Bray, Co Wicklow, on Tuesday.

The funeral of Jimmy Lynch (39), Willie’s brother, will also take place in Bray at noon on Tuesday.

Their Requiem Mass will be celebrated at the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in Bray.

The family were from the Fassaroe area of the town and were visiting Willie and Jimmy’s sister, Sylvia Connors (25), and her young family at the site on Glenamuck Road, Carrickmines, when the fire broke out.

The funeral of Ms Connors, her husband Thomas Connors (27) and their three children, Jim (5), Christy (2) and Mary (five months), will be held in Wexford on Friday.

Removal

Prayers will be held for the Connors family at the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in Balally, in south Dublin at 11.30am on Thursday.