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Open Forum meeting about Traveller accommodation in Ballymun
rights, freedoms and repression |
Tuesday March 14, 2006 17:05 by Caitriona Ni Cheallaigh
St. Margaretís Travellers Community Association (SMTCA) is hosting an open forum meeting in St. Margaretís Park Halting Site at which residents, councillors, community groups and interested individuals will come together to raise awareness about the accommodation situation in Ballymun.
The public meeting will form part of a site visit by the Irish Traveller Movement (ITM) Accommodation Working Group which meets every 6 weeks. These site visits serve to inform the ITM about accommodation problems local areas.
St. Margaretís Halting Site is a 30 bay halting site built in 1997. It is home to 63 families. While 20 families are moving into standard housing in the next few months, the site will still remain overcrowded. As 74% of the population are under the age of 25, many of these young people will be starting families of their own over the next few years.
The Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) which arose out of the Traveller Accommodation Act, 1998, do not address the accommodation needs of Travellers in Ballymun at present, nor do they make provision for projected population figures. The submission drawn up by SMTCA was not taken into account in the Traveller Accommodation Programme 2005-2008.
There are a myriad of problems with which residents have to contend on a daily basis. The supply of electricity to the site is inadequate to cater for the amount of people living on the site, with residents regularly being forced to live without heating, lighting, cooking facilities, fridges, freezers, washing machines etc.
February 2006 saw 15 families left for 10 days without electricity in freezing conditions. In fact since November 2005 there have been over 20 incidences of families reporting that their electricity has gone off.
Being forced to live without electricity in Ireland in 2006 is completely unacceptable and is an infringement of a basic human right.
In addition to the electricity problem, there are problems on the site with blocked drains, broken showers, leaking toilets, burnt sockets, no safe play area for children and pedestrian access to and from the site.
The face of Ballymun is changing, whether for the better or not, remains to be seen. Ballymun Regeneration Limited (BRL) is ploughing money into building houses and infrastrucuture in the Ballymun area. With the exception of 20 standard houses, Travellers do not fit into any overall picture in terms of their future accommodation needs. Plans are in the pipeline to build a massive Ikea on land directly opposite the halting site-land which is urgently needed to cater for both present and future accommodation needs. As the busy roads and industrial warehouses encroach upon Travellers' living space, what exactly does the future hold for St. Margaret's?
These issues will be raised at the open forum meeting on Wednesday March 22nd at 1.pm. in the Community Centre in St. Margaretís Park, St. Margaretís Road, Ballymun.
Please contact either Caitriona or Siobhan if you wish to attend.
Ph: 8622144 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org