Locals remain very concerned at large number of UK traveller families who have set up camp in the Curragh – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Locals remain very concerned at large number of UK traveller families who have set up camp in the Curragh

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There’s been widespread concern locally in County Kildare after a large convoy of 25 Traveller families arrived in Ireland via a ferry from Britain and set up camp in the Curragh of Kildare.

Locals say that they’re concerned there is no social distancing taking place and that gardai have ignored their concerns.

The Travellers were allowed to enter Ireland without issue or having to undergo tests despite the country still being on lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus and during the Easter weekend they arrived in the Curragh ignoring and refusing to stop at a Garda checkpoint in the area.

The Travellers set up a squatting yard at Walsh’s Hill in the Curragh with around 25 vehicles and were joined by a smaller group of Travellers from Tullamore.

The locality in which the Travellers are squatting is an area of conservation and “special significance” and as with much of the Curragh falls under the jurisdiction of the Defence Forces but it is as yet unclear if the army will take legal action to remove the Travellers from the area.

However, those most concerned at the moment are the locals in the Walsh Hill area who claim that the Travellers are ignoring the government’s social distancing advice and restricted movement are worry about an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in their community.

Speaking on behalf of Pavee Point, a taxpayer-funded non-governmental organisation that works to improve the human rights and living conditions of Irish Travellers, Martin Collins said:

“We have negotiated an agreement with the Department of the Environment on Housing and the Garda that if Travellers stay put where they are, even if it is an unofficial site, they will not be evicted for the duration of this coronavirus.”

Mr Collins also drew attention to the fact that others have been allowed to enter Ireland without checks stating:

“I think there are some questions there for the ferry companies, as there is for Ryanair transporting 200 Eastern Europeans in to pick fruit for Keelings.
‘I don’t know why these big airline or ferry companies are allowing this to happen in the middle of a pandemic, a global health crisis.”

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