Belfast Telegraph

Kenny calls for community consultation over accommodation for fire survivors

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called for communities to be consulted over emergency accommodation for survivors of a fire which killed 10 people, including five children.

As a dispute remained over the plan for a cul-de-sac near Carrickmines, south Dublin, council chiefs attempted to ease concerns of residents.

One acre of ground had been earmarked to rehouse the travellers for what housing officials said would be 14 months at most.

The 11 adults and four children, including three toddlers, were left homeless after a blaze destroyed their halting site nearby in Glenamuck last Saturday.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council met concerned residents in Rockville Drive after a small group restricted access over the last two days for workmen to prepare the field.

Housing officials insist the plan remains to put in water and sewerage systems, four mobile homes, a shower block and toilets in the former playground at the end of the estate.

They also offered an assurance that travellers would only be housed there for eight months while a permanent site is built on and that the emergency development would be "decommissioned" six months later.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council said: "The site in question is classified as an emergency site arising specifically from the tragedy and a commitment was also given that it will be decommissioned within six months on completion of the works at the new permanent designated site."

At the site of the Glenamuck fire, the Irish Traveller Movement held a candlelit vigil which had been planned before the dispute began.

Supporters of the travellers also visited Rockville to leave placards calling for unity and criticising residents at the entrance to the field.

The families who survived the fire had hoped to remain in the Carrickmines area as one of the youngsters was at school locally.

Talks are set to continue between the council and the residents in Rockville to resolve the dispute.

Some people living in the cul-de-sac fear the emergency accommodation will become a more permanent site, as happened in Glenamuck, which was originally classed as a temporary halting site only to remain in place for more than seven years.

Amid this confrontation, the Taoiseach said council chiefs must consult neighbours before opening the emergency site.

"I think there is a real need for deep sensitivity here, obviously consultation and conversation with communities is very important," he said.

Mr Kenny described the Glenamuck fire as an appalling tragedy and a sight that would "never leave my mind".

But the Taoiseach added: "It is necessary to consult with the local communities and I can understand the balance that needs to be got here."

Ten members of the Connors and Lynch families died in the tragedy at a halting site in Carrickmines on Saturday morning.

Funerals of those killed in the fire are to be held over the next week.

Services will take place for Willie Lynch, his partner Tara Gilbert and their children Kelsey, aged four, and Jodie, aged nine, and Willie's brother Jimmy, 39, in Bray, Co Wicklow.

Thomas Connors, 27, his wife Sylvia, 25, and their children Jim, aged five, Christy, aged two, and five-month-old baby Mary will be buried in Wexford following funerals.


From Belfast Telegraph