July 8, 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Minister Peter Burke (A Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD who is currently Minister of State for Local Government and Planning) traveled to Cork on Tuesday to visit the stopping site mentioned in the report of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and to meet with the CEO and management of Liège City Council, as well as touring the site and spending time with residents.
Minister Burke, who is responsible for Accommodation for travelers within the Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, said the visit was positive and all parties are aware that the historic overcrowding issues at the site need to be addressed urgently.
“I visited a stopover site in Cork… and met residents and members of the Traveler community. I would like to thank the residents who welcomed me into their home and showed me the conditions in which they live. We discussed the issues in a frank and constructive manner.
“I also met with the CEO and executive committee members of Cork City Council where I requested an update on the implementation plan they have developed for the site in question.
“I stressed the need for continuous and direct engagement with members of the Traveler community and suggested that an independent person, outside of the Council, play the role of mediator. The Council affirmed its commitment to engage with all stakeholders, including members of the Traveler community, advocacy groups and local residents of the region. I have also requested monthly implementation plan meetings between Cork and my officials to ensure that 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 revealed unacceptable conditions for children and adults who call the site their home and we can no longer delay the process to provide safe accommodation for these families.
Report of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children
Fluid video produced by the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman to accompany their report. Read the full report at https://www.oco.ie/app/uploads/2021/05/No-End-in-Site-FINAL-..pdf