Residents of Cork city halting site offered emergency accommodation following Covid-19 outbreak

Residents of Cork city halting site offered emergency accommodation following Covid-19 outbreak

Residents at the Spring Lane halting site in Ballyvolane have been offered a range of supports, including emergency accommodation

MEMBERS of the Traveller community in Cork have been offered emergency accommodation to self-isolate following an outbreak of Covid-19 at an overcrowded halting site on the northside of the city.

Residents at the Spring Lane halting site in Ballyvolane have been offered a range of supports, including food hampers,  after cases were detected onsite.

Speaking to The Echo, the chair of the city’s Traveller Accommodation Committee, Cllr Oliver Moran, said some groups, because of their circumstances, need more support than others when an outbreak occurs.

“When there is an outbreak of Covid-19, the response from the HSE or the city council, it can be very different in very different circumstances but the overall effort is the same and that is to support people who need to self-isolate, either while they’re waiting for a result to come through or after they have been diagnosed and they need to isolate from the rest of the community for the course of the illness.

“How that has been happening throughout the pandemic, there has been wrap-around responses from the city council and the HSE in different circumstances.

“So for a lot of people, elderly people particularly, throughout the city, throughout the pandemic the city council have been providing care packages and supports like that.

“That model is also being applied with respect to the Traveller community now there has been quite a large outbreak on one accommodation site in the city.

“That involves providing hampers of food so that families that have chosen to self-isolate in the site can remain isolating there for the course of the illness,” he said.

“With respect to Traveller accommodation in the city, in this outbreak, residents have been offered emergency accommodation if they would like to self-isolate away from the site.

“A small number have taken that up. The majority of residents have chosen to remain in their homes and to self-isolate there.

“The focus for the HSE and for the city council and for the voluntary organisations involved is to support that as someone’s choice and to ensure they can properly self-isolate in their own homes,” he continued.

The Green Party councillor said the current pandemic has further underscored the need for improved Traveller accommodation facilities in the city.

“Just over a year ago, Cork City Council agreed a new Traveller accommodation plan which involves addressing the issue of overcrowding on Spring Lane by dramatically reducing the number of people living there by providing alternative accommodation away from Spring Lane and also by building a new Traveller accommodation site next door at Ellis's Yard.

“That is the near-term plan. Unfortunately that has been held up by the arrival of Covid-19,” he said.

“The lessons from Covid-19 is that we need to move very quickly on addressing the issues of overcrowding in Traveller accommodation in Cork." 

The Echo has contacted Cork City Council and the HSE for comment.

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