Tipperary council will not be providing stables or paddocks for Traveller horses
Six new houses empty outside Thurles because Traveller families refuse to move in without accommodation for their horses
“I do understand that the Travellers that are there have a particular love of horses and want to maintain it with them. I don’t want to stop that. But I won’t be doing it with the council’s housing land.” Photograph: Getty Images
Tipperary County Council has said it will not be providing stables or paddocks for horses owned by members of an extended Traveller family who are due to move into a new €1.7 million housing development.
Six new houses are lying empty outside Thurles because the family members, who are living on an “unauthorised” site across the road, refuse to move in pending the provision of horse accommodation.
The council has said there was never an agreement, despite what members of the family involved say, to provide stables for two horses and some land behind each of the houses at Cabragh Bridge, about 2km from Thurles.
“There are issues we have to address, we’re going to have to negotiate and discuss it with them, but there will be no land provided by the council for horses,” the council’s director of services for housing, Sinead Carr, said at a meeting in Nenagh.
“I do understand that the Travellers that are there have a particular love of horses and want to maintain it with them. I don’t want to stop that. But I won’t be doing it with the council’s housing land.”
At least 50 adults and children live in mobile homes and caravans across the road from the new housing development, and say members of their extended family have done so for decades. They have horses living in stables and paddocks on land which is understood to be in private ownership.
The families say the matter is currently with their solicitor.
The council said the agreement it made with the families, over a decade ago, was that it would provide suitable housing and that, when the new homes were ready, the “unauthorised” site would be completely cleared. ‘
Sinn Féin councillor David Doran said it was “a thundering disgrace” that the houses have been built, at a cost of over €1.7 million, and were currently lying empty when there are hundreds of people on the council’s housing list.
Independent Cllr Jim Ryan, an independent, said the situation was “an embarrassment” for the council .
Ms Carr said the council takes Traveller accommodation “very seriously”, and was always keen to address any issues that arise. “The council is very clear where it stands on this. Our only objective in relation to that was to construct houses for those families. There was no agreement for anything else. Our role as a housing authority is to provide housing accommodation for families in need.
“Those families are on the side of the road in very poor conditions at the moment...What we’re trying to do is come to a resolution on this.”