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Waterford Traveller group criticises 'populist' councillors for rejection of Carrickphierish plans

The decision by Waterford councillors to reject Traveller accommodation for Carrickphierish has been slammed by a local Traveller group.
A proposal containing 7 bays was brought before the council last week, with local authority management saying it would help regularise dwellings at the site.
Caravans and chalets have been moved into the area without planning permission in recent times.
Karen Reilly is from the Waterford Traveller Community Development Project (WCDP).
She says the families won't be leaving Carrickphierish and need proper accommodation: "They are part of the family that lives in the halting site in Carrickphierish, that's where they were born and they're not going anywhere. They're not leaving the area, that's where they were born. They need homes and they need proper sanitation."
Ms Reilly said that the decision shows that Waterford councillors can't meet their responsibility to provide Traveller accommodation and are instead "looking after their own".
Responsibility 
"This action by councillors makes the case to have responsibility for Traveller accommodation taken away from local Councils. This is a recommendation of the Independent Expert Review Programme Board on Traveller accommodation and is being considered by Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Peter Burke at the moment
Waterford Council has proved its not able to do the job so let a national body do it."
She added that "any planning issues around any unauthorised mobiles" can be dealt with as the projects proceeds.
In a statement on last week's decision, released yesterday, the WTCDP said it was "dismayed" at the "disastrous own-goal decision" by the Waterford Metropolitan Councillors who voted to veto the proposed improvements to the Carrickpherish group housing development.
Cllr Seamus Ryan (Lab) and Cllr Susan Gallagher (Greens) were the only members to support the development, with Independents, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Fine Gael all opposing it.
"Whilst we can inevitably point to the array of almost certainly populist . . . motivations behind this collective decision, we prefer instead to draw attention to the baffling lack of logic in this retrograde act," the statement said.
Population growth
"In 2004, the then Waterford City Council completed the three group housing dwellings that currently exist in Carrickpherish, allocating them to three extended Waterford Traveller families. Quite naturally in the past 17 years, the young members of these families grew up and started their own families, however, this most foreseeable population growth has been ignored by Waterford Council as they have continuously failed to deliver on their approved Traveller Accommodation Plans.
"It is these young families, having overspilled the group housing where they grew up, who are currently living in overcrowded, inadequate, and unhealthy conditions and in desperate need of the new bays. We ask these Councillors, where do they now expect these residents to live? A shortage of social housing, and the near impossibility of Travellers finding a private landlord that will rent to them means that the families are going nowhere."
Instead, the decision, which the WCDP called "short-term virtue signalling" by Councillors, "has done nothing but block Council officials from progressing logical solutions to the overcrowding in the group housing area, and in turn, improvements to the wider area".
The statement concluded: "Councillors have knowingly and with impunity, condemned families with babies and young children to live in deplorable conditions. Waterford Councillors have created, and are prepared to sustain miserable, degrading living conditions which are far outside any housing standards set by the Department of Environment, HSE living standards for health, and TUSLA standards for child safety and development. We believe this calls for an inquiry."
 

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