Illegal halting sites are said to be costing Kildare farmers thousands of euros, a council meeting heard yesterday, as reported by the Leinster Leader.
Councillor Brett forwarded a motion yesterday, to set up a working group to report back on the five illegal sites currently in the Naas area. Cllr Brett said he has been in touch with one farmer, who says the damage caused by the site has cost him thousands of euro to clean up.
“He has to pay people to come and clean it out...Somebody has to stand up to this. There are 25 caravans and five halting sites in and around Naas.”, he said.
The meeting also heard of a lack of local bye-laws in place with regards these illegal sites. The local council, however, under the Sanitary Services Act of 1948, are entitled to give between 24 and 48 hours notice, should sanitary breaches be identified. They are entitled to seek injunctions should regulations not be complied with.
There is currently a great need in the area for a travel-specific accommodation for the traveler community in the area, the meeting heard. There are currently five illegal sites in Naas alone. There is a local committee already in place, to advise on the provision and management of accommodation for the traveler community, the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee. They carry out social work assessment with families in these unauthorized camps and try to determine their housing needs and what their status on the housing list should be.
Local Councillor Seamus Moore described the fact that there is currently no legislation in place as “disgraceful”, adding that locals are “too soft” with the group.
“They ought to conform like the rest of us – we are too soft...People on the Dublin Road have had a terrible time.”, he said.
Members of the meeting were in agreement, that Travellers housing needs are in need of progression in the Naas area. The group said they will meet with the Director of Housing to discuss the issue further.