AN EVICTION AT an illegal halting site in Dundalk, Co Louth, this afternoon has seen a number of families removed from the area, although an agreement on a long-term solution has been reached.
It is believed that as many as 17 families were involved, including “a number of new-born babies, and at least one pregnant woman”.
The halting site at Woodland Park in the town was once an official one but was closed a number of years ago.
Gardaí assisted Louth County Council in the eviction by enforcing an order under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1994. Armed gardaí were at the scene, according to reports.
One man was arrested for a public order offence, and was held at Dundalk Garda Station.
Vice chair of the Louth Traveller Movement Rebecca Quinn earlier told RTÉ News that the families do not want to leave the site and have nowhere else to go.
Quinn told the broadcaster that agreement has been reached with the local council over their temporary relocation, ranging from B&Bs to others making their own arrangements with family members, and will enter dialogue to secure long-term accommodation.
“Gardaí went down there this morning to assist in the action,” a Garda spokesman said.
The decision was taken by Louth County Council to remove the occupants on health and safety grounds.
In a statement this evening, local Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams said he was deeply concerned by today’s events.
“When I heard of the threat to carry out evictions, I expressed my concern to Louth County Council and asked the council to use dialogue and arbitration to resolve this issue,” he said.
The decision by Louth County Council to evict 17 families from the travelling community from Woodland Park Dundalk was unreasonable and unnecessary. I understand that discussions are ongoing between representatives of the families and the council. These efforts should be given the space to conclude without the threat of eviction.
Adams said “a number of new-born babies, and at least one pregnant woman” were among the families.
There is no mains electricity, no mains water, no sewerage or necessary services on the site. The families raised concerns with me regarding the water safety and a number of other health and safety matters and I have been working with them on these matters
“Members of the travelling community have the right to accommodation.”
Louth County Council has been contacted for comment.
Originally published 5.43pm