The Traveller Visibility Group (TVG) are supporting the draft plans made by City Council to build houses in Ellis’s Yard saying the development is “much needed.”
The comments follow a heated public meeting on Thursday night where local councillors explained the submission process of the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme to Ballyvolane residents and members of the Travelling community in attendance.
TVG Traveller Men's Development Worker John O’Sullivan said while the plans are not very detailed at present, the residents have high hopes for the project.
“Hopefully, they will be providing good quality decent housing with cooking and washing facilities that will alleviate the overcrowding issues in Spring Lane Halting Site,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“There would also be a green area for the kids to play, and the whole site could be managed easier.”
The TVG worker said the new site was likely to be managed in a more formal manner with tenancy agreements, which would be welcomed.
“The residents of Spring Lane halting site, desperately need good quality accommodation,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
Another positive aspect of the site location and the project is that Ellis's Yard is a much brighter site than Spring Lane, according to the TVG worker.
“Ellis Yard is a brighter site than Spring Lane, which can be very dark in the winter months, this will be helpful for residents mental health and wellbeing.”
Mr O’Sullivan said that the travelling community have been a part of the Ballyvolane community for the past 40 years, if not longer, and they want to stay in the area.
“Many of the people in Spring Lane were born there and the area was a traditional Traveller campsite before then as well. They have very deep roots to the area and they see themselves as part of the community.”
In terms of easing some of the worries residents of the surrounding area have with regards the possible expansion of the halting site into Ellis’s Yard, Mr O’Sullivan said a larger site would not mean more horses.
“I do not see that as a problem, there is less space for horses if we expand I don’t think more houses will mean more horses.
In terms of the horses, which are a constant grievance for locals in the area, Mr O’Sullivan said that the TVG was working with Cork City Council and other stakeholders such as the ISPCA, on a grassroots grazing project for a number of years.
“A designated area for horses is badly needed,” Mr O’Sullivan said.