Carrickmines fire survivors to be housed in car park

Council says decision not to house families on Rockville Drive taken with ‘great reluctance’

The scene at Rockville Drive off the Glenamuck Road where the proposed site to house Travellers is located. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The scene at Rockville Drive off the Glenamuck Road where the proposed site to house Travellers is located. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Strong opposition from residents has forced Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to abandon a plan to provide emergency accommodation at Rockville Drive in south Dublin for the Travellers who survived the Carrickmines fire.

The survivors will now be housed at a site, which the council said was “not ideal” in a car park on the Ballyogan Road.

The council wanted to house the 15 survivors temporarily on a site it owns at Rockville Drive, near the scene of the fire in south Dublin in which 10 Travellers died on October 10th. But residents blocked site preparation work and several meetings failed to resolve the situation.

The Connors family who survived the fire are homeless from and must on Thursday leave the temporary accommdation inwhich they have been staying. The funeral Masses of five of their relatives will be held on Thursday.

A council spokesman said the decision on the Ballyogan site was taken “with great reluctance” and that the Ballyogan site was “not ideal” as it did not have full access to basic services available at Rockville Drive.

“Our staff are committed to working round the clock to make it ready for the surviving family members for occupation by the weekend,” he said.

The decision had been made to “avoid time consuming litigation and negotiation and to ensure the family can begin to rebuild their lives as soon as possible”, he added.

The council’s original plan to house the Travellers in a field at Rockville Drive on an emergency basis for six months was met with sustained opposition from settled residents.

Locals placed cars at the site entrance to prevent works beginning, said the land was unsuitable and that they did not believe council assurances it would be “decommissioned within six months”. Some also said they did “not want” Travellers moving onto the site.

Residents of Rockville Drive and Glenamuck Cottages said they welcomed the decision. They hoped the survivors of “this awful tragedy” could now be “given the space and support they need to grieve” .

“It is our hope that the events of the last week will prompt a considered debate about traveller accommodation across the country.”

The Southside Traveller Action Group (Stag), which has been supporting the bereaved families, said it was “pleased and very relieved” that the families would “have somewhere safe to live” after the funerals.

However, the Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre said Travellers’ rights to a decent place to live had come in “second place to the demands of the majority population”.

Pavee Point co-director Martin Collins said it was shocking that the “bereaved Traveller families will be accommodated at a site that is described as ‘not ideal’ by the Council’s itself and does not have access to proper sewage facilities”.

The funeral of Sylvia Connors (25), her husband Thomas (27), their children Jim (5), Christy (2) and Mary (five months), takes place in Balally, Dublin, this morning.