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Traveller family 'devastated' as gardaí investigate whether fire at council house started deliberately

The family was set to move into the house in the coming weeks.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

A TRAVELLER FAMILY who were set to move into a house in Galway have said they are “devastated” after it was destroyed in a fire last night.

Gardaí are investigating whether the property, which is located on Carnmore Road and was recently purchased by Galway City Council, was set alight in a deliberate attack.

The family had hoped to move into the home in the coming weeks, after years of living on a council-owned halting site.

The house was unoccupied at the time of the blaze, which happened at around 5am this morning. There was significant damage to the house following the fire.

In a statement this evening, a spokeswoman for the Galway Traveller Movement (GTM) said that if there was a motive behind the fire, it would be an “insidious” crime against the entire Traveller community.

The group also claimed it was difficult to accept demands that there should be more consultation with communities when a Traveller family moved in to certain areas.

“If a settled family was moving into an estate, there would be no consultation or perceived need for consultation,” GTM co-ordinator Margaret O’Riada said.

“The fact that consultation is even expected is indication enough of the endemic racism that exists when it comes to the Travelling community and its right to accommodation.”

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In a statement on Facebook, Pavee Point described the incident as “horrifying” and called on the council to continue to deliver accommodation for the Travelling Community.

A garda spokeswoman said no arrests have been made in relation to the fire and that investigations are ongoing.

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