Clare County Council has forked out over €1 million on the travelling community in the last three years.
A total of €1,259,103 has been spent by the Council since 2016 and the local authority expects this figure to rise to €1,363,407 by the end of the year. The expenditure is towards accommodation, maintenance, waste collection, security, legal costs and illegal encampment.
Legal costs against the travelling community have more than doubled this year, at present it stands at €145,788 with the local authority anticipating it will be €160,000 by the end of 2018. It is a significant increase on the €53,580 paid in 2017.
Accommodation fees have dropped this year by €14,990 but are still €38,566 more than the amount paid in 2016. Although illegal encampment didn’t cost Clare County Council a penny in 2016, the intervening years have resulted in fees of €21,683 (2017), €30,720 (so far in 2018) and €43,000 (Council estimate for end of 2018).
Waste collection costs are expected to hit €195,000 as 2018 concludes, so far this year €162,257 has been paid by the Council while it is a sizeable rise from €38,440 in 2016 and €66,570 last year. The outlay of security left a bill of €1,351 in 2016, the local authority estimate this will be €120,000 at the end of 2018. Maintenance expenses are forecast to also reach a three year high, however the figures do not take into account the salaries of those involved in maintaining traveller sites.
Independent councillor, Gerry Flynn outlined his frustration with the amount of Council money being spent on travellers at a meeting of the local authority on Monday. “Where is this money coming from? There are a lot of other constructive ways we could be spending this money. It is a sizeable amount of money in the face of people accusing us of doing nothing”.