Sligo Co Co deny Connaughton Rd clean-up operation has resulted in a fire hazard

Sligo County Council has strongly disputed claims that its recent clean-up in the Connaughton Road Car Park in Sligo Town has resulted in a fire hazard to the Traveller family living there.

It also says that because of intimidation and violence in the past, gardai are now required to protect local authority workers in the car park.

The extended McGinley family have been living in the public, local authority car park along Connaughton Road for the past 30 years.

On April 23rd last, Sligo County Council carried out a clean-up operation at the car park, supported by gardai.

That followed complaints, including from local councillors, about a car dismantling operation in the car park as well as about the keeping of animals.

After that clean-up, part of the car park was closed to the Travellers vehicles by the use of large concrete blocks and mesh panels.

Travellers then claimed they had to park their caravans closer together, creating a fire hazard.

In a statement issued to Ocean FM News yesterday evening, the council said assertions by Sligo Traveller Support Group that actions by the Council had resulted in caravans being moved closer to other caravans by Council staff, thus impacting on the fire safety of the residents, were completely false.

The Council says it has not moved caravans at Connaughton Road, adding that the position of each caravan has been determined by the residents.

The council says responsibility for fire safety of the caravans at Connaughton Road rests with
those living in that caravan.

The council added that officials of Sligo County Council are not empowered to impose any fire safety provisions on those resident in caravans at Connaughton Road.

The council also says it had, through its Fire Services team, provided a high level of assistance countering fires at the Connaughton Road car park.

But it says this assistance has been met by intimidation and violence towards fire service personnel.

The council says fire appliances have also been damaged.

It added that member of the fire service was obliged to attend University Hospital Sligo as a result of an injury incurred following an attack using a glass bottle.

Gardaí subsequently secured a prosecution in respect of this assault.

As a result of such attacks, the council says Gardaí are now required for the protection of its personnel in carrying out their duties at Connaughton Road.