CAUTIOUS APPROACH TO HALTING SITE ISSUE
Cork County Council officials have admitted that some of the Travellers who have taken up residence at an illegal halting site in Mitchelstown may have previously been evicted from a similar problem site at Coolnanave. The council are preparing to take High Court action towards removing the encampment at a site along the Mitchelstown relief road.
Tim Lucey, manager with the Northern Division of Cork County Council explained that the council is making sure “the i's are dotted and the t’s are crossed” before any court order against the illegal site is sought.
Mr. Lucey added that despite council efforts it was “unfortunate” that those there are apparently unwilling to vacate the encampment voluntarily and that the council had to ascertain the identity of those involved to establish if they were indigenous or transient Travellers.
The issue was discussed at length at this week’s meeting of the Northern Division of Cork County Council where, following enquiries by Fianna Fail Councillor Kevin O’Keeffe, it was revealed that council officials believe the encampment includes Travellers who were at the centre of a halting site controversy last February.
The Travellers involved were removed from housing provided by the council for establishing an illegal halting site at three properties in Coolnanave. The Council at the time defended spending approximately €9,000 a week providing 24 hour security at the three houses.
The security had been in place since mid October 2007 to prevent further violations that saw the council taken to the High Court by an adjacent landowner.
Mr. Lucey confirmed that the council believe that some of the Travellers involved in the Coolnanave incident may have taken up residence at the halting site along the relief road.
He added that those concerned are on the Council’s housing list and have “refused appropriate housing” offered by the council who have made “every effort” to accommodate them. Fianna Fail Councillor Frank O’Flynn urged Cork County Council to do their utmost to resolve the situation, highlighting the health and safety issues prevalent at the site on the busy roadside.
“There seems to be a special attraction to Mitchelstown,” Cllr O’Flynn remarked, “and the town has suffered because of this problem down through the years.”
Mr. Lucey said the Council is dealing with the issue as a matter of urgency. Speaking on local radio this week Fine Gael Councillor Liam O’Doherty further highlighted the traffic dangers inherent at the busy spot where he claimed over 20 caravans have now taken residence.
Thursday 18th September 7:23pm