Children to suffer as evictions loom for Traveller families in Clondalkin

by Padraig Conlon

Five Traveller families are once again threatened with eviction after the local council issued an ultimatum.

South Dublin County Council plans to take legal proceedings to evict the families from a site in Clondalkin if they are not gone by 4pm on Friday (8th).

The families, who have 28 children including two toddlers, have been living in caravans on an old school site in Balgaddy with no electricity or running water for the last four months.

The council tried to evict them in January but it was called off after the families refused to leave.

Having previously lived in the Dublin City Council and Clare County Council catchment areas, SDCC said it was not required to implement a Traveller Accommodation Programme as the families have not been resident in the County for at least three years.

The families say they have nowhere else to go and their children are enrolled in local schools.

Back in January, an emergency motion submitted to the full council meeting by local People Before Profit Councillor Madeleine Johansson asking council management to stop the removal of the families was passed.

The motion also called on the council to work with other local authorities, as well as the Clondalkin Travellers Development Group to find a solution for the families.

There was no further moves made by the council to evict the families until an email was sent to councillors on February 27 from a senior manager in the council’s housing section.

The email said: “I wish to notify you that correspondence has been issued to the illegal occupiers on the old School Site, Balgaddy/Griffeen Avenue, today the 27th February 2019.

“The correspondence advises that if the site has not been vacated by 4pm on March 8, the council will commence legal proceedings for the purpose of securing vacant possession of the site and the removal of all vehicles, caravans and other structures there-from.”

Cllr Madeleine Johansson told Dublin Gazette of her disappointment that SDCC have not acted on her motion which was passed in January.

“There is no update since last week when SDCC management announced that they have until 4pm on Friday to leave,” she said.

“I asked management in writing what actions they had taken in relation to the motion that was passed and I received no recognition of my email and no response.

“From speaking to the Clondalkin Traveller Development Group the only action taken was that the council took some information from the families but have not been in contact with the group since.

“It’s very disappointing that the council have not taken responsibility and acted on a motion passed and the lack of communication with the group and elected members is appalling.

“I would also like to ask other local councillors to make their views on this matter public.”

Stephen Browne, from Clondalkin Travellers Development Group, said he hopes the needs of the children living on the site are given due consideration.

“A few weeks ago the council came down and took PPS numbers off the families, since then they’ve heard nothing,” he said.

“If the families have not vacated the site by Friday the council will begin legal proceedings.

“Aside from that there’s really not a whole lot else to say.

“The conditions are still the same on the site and the families still have nowhere else to go.

“A large amount of the children living on the site are enrolled in local schools.

“We hope nothing happens that would compromise their school attendance or disrupt their education.”

When contacted by Dublin Gazette, the council said: “Correspondence was issued to the illegal occupiers on the old School Site, Balgaddy/Griffeen Avenue, on the 27th February 2019.

“The correspondence advises that if the site has not been vacated by 4pm on Friday 8th March, the Council will commence legal proceedings for the purpose of securing vacant possession of the site and the removal of all vehicles, caravans and other structures there from.”

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