Traveller families move from Galway City Hall to nearby beach

Labour councillor calls on families moved from waste facility in January to ‘calm down’

A group of Traveller families has moved to a beach on the east side of Galway city, as efforts by Galway City Council continue to try to resolve their accommodation issue.

The nine families with 15 children had moved 10 caravans into the carpark of Galway City Hall on Friday to highlight their situation.

After they were told the council would seek an injunction, they drove to Ballyloughane beach at Renmore yesterday. The beach is the third location since the group received a legal notice to move from the entrance to a waste facility on the Headford road in late January.

Galway Traveller Movement says the families had been mainly in private rented accommodation, but were forced to move out due to rent increases. They are seeking a safe serviced site, until the issue is resolved.


Galway Traveller Movement spokeswoman Margaret O’Riada said emergency accommodation services were unable to assist the families over the weekend.

However, Labour city councillor Niall McNelis has called on the group to "calm down", and says the families will "lose support if they keep behaving like this".

Independent councillor Terry O’Flaherty has also called on the Travellers to work “within the law”.

Cllr MacNelis said that there were 4,600 households on Galway’s housing list, including other Traveller families, and this group was trying to “bump itself up the list”.

Galway city council director of services Tom Connell noted last week that the families had "relatively recently come onto the housing waiting list".

The city council’s Traveller accommodation plan has identified areas in Ballybane, Doughuisce and Knocknacarra for halting sites and housing, with serious overcrowding an issue in an existing halting site in Salthill.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times