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filthy conditions

Pat Kenny observes "third world" conditions in report from Dublin halting site

Residents painted a bleak picture of their daily life, telling the host it was unsafe for children.

Update: 11.36

site1 The Pat Kenny Show The Pat Kenny Show

PAT KENNY PAID a visit to a Traveller halting site off Dublin’s Cappagh Road on Friday to observe living conditions.

In the report, broadcast today, the Newstalk host said it was “no exaggeration to say that the people here live in third world conditions”.

Families have been housed at the site, in Finglas on the northside of the capital, for the last 24 years.

pat1 Primary healthcare worker Mary Collins speaks with Kenny at the Finglas site. The Pat Kenny Show The Pat Kenny Show

Speaking to Kenny, residents painted a bleak picture of their daily life, claiming that poor sanitation facilities were causing children to contract an unusually high number of illnesses.

“It’s very difficult for the children, they’re picking up all sorts of germs and infections,” one woman, from the McDonagh family, said.

“If the small ones drop something they’re picking it up and putting it in their mouths. So they’re more times sick then they are well.”

cont The Pat Kenny Show The Pat Kenny Show

The site is serviced only by portable toilets which, residents said, were not emptied on a regular basis.

“They come one week and they mightn’t come for another two weeks again after that.”

The woman from the McDonagh family (her first name wasn’t given) agreed with the host that the Finglas site was “like something from the third world”.

play1 The Pat Kenny Show The Pat Kenny Show

Members of the Travelling community were originally housed at the site in the 1990s, and have been there ever since. Residents said it was initially meant to be a temporary site.

Another woman told Kenny problems with their accommodation had been raised “since before the recession came and nothing has been done about it”.

“There are huge health and safety issues on this site.”

Mary Collins, a primary healthcare worker based at the site, said the residents wanted Fingal County Council to upgrade facilities rather than rehouse them elsewhere.

“They don’t don’t want to live in houses. They’d rather be around their own family and extended family,” Collins said.

Newstalk / YouTube

A Fingal County Council spokesperson said: “Fingal County Council has had extensive dialogue with Residents living at St.Mary’s Halting Site, Cappagh, over the past two years.

“Significant works have been undertaken on the site to address Estate Management issues which had arisen over a period of time.

“Unfortunately, due to family feuding on part of  the site over the past year, a number of mobile homes have been damaged and Council staff have had to exit the site on several occasions for Health and safety reasons.

“I am, however, pleased to confirm that the Council’s Traveller Accommodation Unit  is committed and open to continued dialogue with Residents who wish to engage in a positive and proactive manner to deal with outstanding issues on the Site. ”

The government announced a national audit of halting sites in the wake of last month’s Carrickmines blaze, in which ten people – including a five month old baby – lost their lives.

Read: Carrickmines survivors are now living in this car park >

Read: Carrickmines tragedy shows we all have empathy, but it gives way when it comes close to our backyard >

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