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Last Traveller families to be evicted from Louth halting site today

Four families still remain on the site.

Image: Google Street View

THE LAST TRAVELLER families remaining on the Woodland Park halting site in Louth will be gone by the end of today.

After the deadline of this evening, the homes of the four families remaining – including five children aged five to nine – will be seized by the council.

The eviction battle has been ongoing since last week between the local authority and the 17 Traveller families that had been positioned on the site.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme earlier today, Rebecca Quinn, a spokesperson for those on the site, said that the families involved had suffered “severe trauma” over the removal.

What is happening to the families? 

Negotiations between the Traveller families and Louth County Council have been ongoing since the removal began on Friday.

Many of those who have already been removed are being put up in local B & Bs at the council’s expense – something which will be extended until Friday.

While the council has offered to step in and help find private rented accommodation for the families, Quinn describes this as a “direct attack on the rights and the ethnicity of the travelling families”.

A meeting yesterday between representatives from the Travelling community and Louth County Council failed to break new ground on a longer-term solution for residents.

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Why have they had to leave the site?

The reasoning that has been given for the removal of the families from the site has been fire, health and safety reasons.

Woodland Park was visited in October by a fire safety officer who deemed it to be a hazard in the wake of the Carrickmines fire which killed 10 people including a pregnant woman.

However, the reasoning for removing the families has been called into question.

Speaking earlier today, Quinn noted that the Programme to Review Fire Safety in Traveller Accommodation, introduced by the government at the beginning of December, says: “Nothing in this fire safety review process is intended to be used to address the broader Traveller accommodation issues in a negative way.”

Read: Council evict number of families from Louth halting site

Also: ‘The ideal situation would be to allow them go to a halting site’

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