THE Travelling Community are facing eviction from private lands as Dublin’s councils seek to hire a full-time security company to evict families from such.
A joint tender document from the four local authorities was published by Dublin City Council saying they were seeking a security firm to help evict Travellers from sites around the county, seven days a week.
The contract’s estimated total value excluding VAT is more than €750,000.
John Connors, actor and Travellers’ rights activist, said politicians who supported formal recognition for Travellers as a distinct ethnic group in 2017 were hypocrites for their silence on the issue, which could see thousands of Travellers evicted during the worst homelessness crisis in the history of the State.
“Dublin has a lot of Travellers, we’re talking dozens and dozens of families. In Coolock alone we have around 300 altogether and that’s not even going into Fingal or other council areas,” Mr Connors said.
“We could have thousands of Travellers evicted and where are they going to go?” he said.
“There is an absolute panic, a lot of Travellers are messaging me asking, ‘What’s going to happen to us? What are we going to do? What can you do?’
“Travellers have a young population, we have so many young kids.
“My family might not be evicted, we’ve been here 20 years, but what’s going to happen to other families? Where are they going to go?
“They don’t want us travelling, but they don’t want us near them. They’re just evicting Travellers to a different council area, it’s always someone else’s problem.”
Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced formal recognition for Travellers as a distinct ethnic group in 2017, labelling the move “a historic day for our Travellers and a proud day for Ireland”.
Mr Connors said the status recognition was a hollow gesture as figures released in February showed that 10 local authorities in Ireland had failed to draw down any funding for Traveller accommodation last year.
Meanwhile 14 councils failed to use all of the allocated funding, he said. A recent report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) found that some Travellers were living in “deplorable conditions” in Ireland.