Silent protest planned in Sligo row over Traveller accommodation

Opposition to plan to move family to halting site despite animosity with current residents

A silent protest is due to be held in Sligo next week in opposition to the county council’s plans to move a Traveller family on to a halting site currently occupied by another family.

The Sligo Traveller Support Group has called on people from the community to join a silent protest on Monday to highlight opposition to the council’s plans for Glenview halting site.

Bernadette Maughan, manager of the support group, said the council intends to move the McGinleys into Glenview alongside the Wards, even though “the dogs on the streets know” that the two families do not get on.

She said neither family supported the plan.

The McGinleys have lived in a carpark in the centre of Sligo for more than 30 years, while the extended Ward family has been living on the Glenview halting site for 15 years. "Before that they lived on the side of the Bundoran road until one of their children was knocked down," said Ms Maughan.

More than 200 letters have been sent to the council protesting at the proposal. Ms Maughan said that 75 per cent of these were from members of the settled community. “They do not want trouble. They know this will not work,” she said.

On the roadside

Ms Maughan said she feared that unless elected members of Sligo County Council vote against the proposal at its monthly meeting on June 11th, the Ward family will be "forced back on to the roadside".

Nora Ward, who lives at Glenview, said she had learned the council plans to erect a 10ft-high wall between the two families, and her extended family of 15 would occupy just a tenth of the site. “It would be like living in a prison,” she said.

Members of Sligo Traveller Support Group recently resigned from the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee in protest at what they described as lack of consultation over the council's plan for Glenview.

Both families are expected to take part in separate protests outside the council meeting.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland