Call for better emergency access to Traveller sites

by Rebecca Ryan

There is a call for better emergency access to Traveller sites. Sinn Fein Councillor for Sandyford Glencullen, Chris Curran wants to see new remotely controlled motorised gates to be fitted on all sites.

Acting on reports from members of the Travelling Community, Cllr Curran said he examined how emergency services currently gain access to sites.

“Most Traveller accommodation sites are fitted with height restricting barriers to prevent unauthorised access to site.

“In the period after the Carrickmines Fire disaster, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council assured me that emergency services have unhindered access to sites, yet reports from Travellers and members of the emergency services gave me a different picture.”

He claims that in some cases where an ambulance was required, an “additional fire appliance is sometimes needed to cut the locks on the barriers when no key is available”.

“This prevents a patient’s immediate access to care and an avoidable use of highly skilled personnel who could be required elsewhere,” said Cllr Curran.

“On another occasion, the ambulance could not access the site unhindered. In that case, the condition was not life threatening and a trolley was used to transport the patient to the ambulance.

“This cost time and, in an emergency every second counts. This is a matter of risk and its reduction.”

Cllr Curran is calling for the matter to be raised at Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s Traveller Consultative Committee for further discussion.

“There are technical solutions where the emergency services can ring a secret mobile phone number to trigger the gate to open.

“Matters like this are usually dealt with under the Traveller Accommodation Programme.

“However, given the events of October 10th, 2015 when 10 people lost their lives, I am calling on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and other county councils to give strong consideration to modern technology to improve safety.”

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