8 July 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Minister Peter Burke (A Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD who is currently Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning) travelled to Cork on Tuesday to visit the Halting Site referenced in the Office of the Ombudsman for Children’s report and meet with the Chief Executive and management of Cork City Council, as well as visiting the site and spending time with residents.
Minister Burke, who has responsibility for Traveller Accommodation within the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, said the visit was positive and all parties are aware that historic issues of overcrowding on the site must be resolved urgently.
“I visited a halting site in Cork… and met with residents and members of the Traveller community. I want to thank residents who welcomed me into their homes and showed me the conditions they are living in. We discussed the issues on hand frankly and constructively.
“I also met the Chief Executive and members of the Cork City Council Executive where I requested an update on the implementation plan they have drawn up for the site in question.
“I emphasised the need for continued and direct engagement with members of the Traveller community and proposed that an independent person, outside of the Council, should act as mediator. The Council have affirmed their commitment to engage with all stakeholders, including members of the Traveller community, advocacy groups and local residents of the area. I have also requested monthly meetings on the implementation plan between Cork and my officials to ensure progress is maintained.
“There are challenges to overcome but these are not insurmountable and resources will be made available to Cork City Council to ensure tenants can be accommodated in a safe and secure manner. The OCO report has exposed unacceptable conditions for both children and adults who call the site their home and we can have no further delays in the process to provide secure accommodation for these families.”
Office of the Ombudsman for Children’s report
Slick video produced by Office of the Ombudsman for Children to accompany their report. Read the report in full at https://www.oco.ie/app/uploads/2021/05/No-End-in-Site-FINAL-..pdf