*Clancy Park is now home of an illegal encampment. 

ENNIS RESIDENTS are “stressed and sleepless in a state of trauma” following the emergence of a new illegal encampment.

County councillors claimed “the ethnic minority feel they can do whatever they want to do to get housed” when voicing their frustrations this week.

Standing orders were suspended at Monday’s adjourned meeting of Clare County Council to debate an emergency motion where elected representatives called for an “effective coordinated approach” with other state agencies be established by the Council “to effectively address the ongoing illegal encampments occurring throughout our county”.

This motion was tabled by Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) and co-signed by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF), Cllr John Crowe (FG), Cllr Rita McInerney (FF), Cllr Ann Norton (IND), Cllr Mary Howard (FG), Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) and Cllr Pat Daly (FF).

Threats of arson, harassment, intimidation of the elderly, uncontrolled dogs, degradation of a beloved neighbourhood and “a sense of abandonment by the State, the Council and the Gardaí” are some of the feelings experienced by residents of Clancy Park since the arrival of an illegal encampment in the estate, Cllr Colleran Molloy flagged.

The Clare Echo understands that there are presently three caravans at different locations across Clancy Park, one of which is occupied by an individual who was in Limerick Prison but was released due to capacity issues.

A frustrated Colleran Molloy said she raised the issue last Monday with Council officials about the strong possibility of an illegal encampment setting up in Clancy Park. “The ineffectiveness demonstrated by our Council” was “the last straw,” the Quin native admitted. She said she sought immediate action last Monday to have concrete blocks placed on the green area in Clancy Park on Tuesday morning but officials were reluctant “as the need for Garda presence to protect Council employees was mentioned”.

Since Tuesday a caravan has been located on the green area with an exposed wire across the public road, Cllr Colleran Molloy highlighted. She said Gardaí have asked for it to be removed but it remains in place. She said required legal processes have been initiated by the local authority. She appealed for a dedicated phone number be established for scenarios where a councillor “based on sound evidence” that an illegal encampment is to occur so that they can initiate a process to have Garda back up to enable a rapid response from the Council.

“Towns, villages, estates and communities across our county are being held to ransom and that is the long and the short of it,” Cllr O’Callaghan stated. He said persons occupying illegal encampments are “moving about” to find green areas. “The Council are doing their best but their hands are tied, our hands seem to be tied, the very talk of one of these with the potential of getting a house there seems to be an influx of people into the area and causing all sorts of mischief, there’s High Court cases going on and on, they are using this as a lever,” the Kilmurry representative added.

Only “the other day” in Kilkishen an encampment moved from there to Sixmilebridge onto Bunratty “where it caused more mischief,” O’Callaghan noted. “It is a small minority, the ethnic minority who feel they can do whatever they want to do to get housed,” he said.

Support is needed at a national level to empower the Council and elected representatives on the issue, Cllr Howard argued. “There is an awful lot expected of us where our hands are tied,” she commented. Cllr McInerney said it was important for communities that their elected representatives were able to do something for them on the matter.

Mayor of the Ennis MD, Cllr Daly said, “I was canvassing the other night and I saw it going on first hand, the transfer of electricity from one house to a camper van, it is going on and it is illegal”. He added, “this anti-social behaviour has to stop, it is very unfair, the same on the Kilrush Rd they are breaking the law and if I did it I’d be in prison the next day”. Law and order needs to be enforced, he stressed.

Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) told the meeting he would have signed the motion had he been asked to do so. “Serial offenders continue to breach the law,” he noted.

Sixmilebridge is well aware of the impact of illegal encampments, Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) said when issuing his support. “I also made representations, I’m extremely conscious litigation is going on, I am hoping some form of resolution is coming from the High Court to finalise some legislative power, it is an extremely hard burden,” Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF) said.

Staff in Clare County Council’s housing section are doing “tremendous work”, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) acknowledged. “The Government decided to declare ethnic status for the Traveller community which substantially changes how the Council operate and effectively ties their hands”. He added, “In a lot of cases the Council lose, it’s a disgrace, there’s different rules for the people as your leader said get up early in the morning and another rule for the people who don’t get up at all”.

A co-ordinated approach is needed, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) stated, “there are so many issues involved with this single issue from noise disturbance to control of horses”. Mayor of Clare, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) said he was in support of the motion.

Padraig MacCormaic of the Council’s housing section admitted it was “a very difficult situation” which has popped up in different sections of the county. He confirmed that a housing act section has been served for the Clancy Park case “asking them to move on, the next step is to get them to move, we’ve served the notice and enforcing it involves going to court”. He continued, “the housing section will not be bullied into moving people up on the housing list because of their illegal activity, it is not right to house people for breaking the law”.

Senior engineer in the Ennis MD, Seán Lenihan acknowledged it was a countywide issue. “No community should be held to ransom,” he stressed. “We did whatever actions were available to us, we arranged cross-directorate issue, we referred to child welfare and TUSLA after the fact, we’ve issued notices under roads legislation and housing legislation”. He said the local authority is doing what is able to do under the laws they operate under.

Director of Services, Leonard Cleary stated, “It is acknowledged that there is a problem and it is not acceptable”. He issued a commitment that the Council “will do everything possible to address this issue as soon as possible with Gardaí and support agencies”. He added, “this is a homelessness issue, it is not acceptable to reside the caravan in a public green area, it is a homelessness issue that has to be address”.

Related News

image
Infant Hunter Molloy 'radiated love and lived his life fully'
ennistymon lea debate 1
The Electoral Chair: Ennistymon local electoral area debate
knappogue castle 1
Knappogue Castle to open as private residence this year
SONY DSC
€8.7m funding approved for Scariff regeneration project
Latest News
SONY DSC
€8.7m funding approved for Scariff regeneration project
bunratty castle 2
Haugh highlights movie potential of Clare
garda
Woman sustained broken eye socket, broken ribs, collapsed lung, stitches to face from alleged assault by then boyfriend
clare v tipperary minor 30-04-24 dermot coughlan 1
'We lost it in the first fifteen minutes' - Coughlan on Clare's exit in minor semi-final
ennis courthouse tent 24-02-21 4
Jail warning for mother of three who walks children on daily six mile round school trip
Premium
ennis courthouse tent 24-02-21 4
Jail warning for mother of three who walks children on daily six mile round school trip
ennistymon v st breckans 07-07-23 liam cotter 1
Cusack Cup champions Ennistymon still unbeaten
leonard cleary 2
Tributes to Corofin's Cleary as he bids farewell to Council
avenue utd v newmarket celtic 12-05-24 team champions 1
Avenue Utd win Premier Division title
ennis municipal district le24 candidates
The Electoral Chair: Ennis Municipal District election debate

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top