Concerns over halting site at Marshmeadows
A lengthy debate ensued about the way the halting site in Marshmeadows is monitored.
Housing officer Padraig O’Gorman said three new families from the district are due to move into the halting site, as they do not wish to be accommodated in houses.
He said a new entrance, including a gate, for the halting site has been designed.
‘It would give views into the middle of the halting site. There will be a new stone fronted wall. It’s a nice aesthetic entrance.’
Additional CCTV will be installed to assist in monitoring the estate.
Mr O’Groman sought the approval of the members to open three of the six back bays.
Cllr Larry O’Brien asked for the ditch and any big trees outside the halting site to be cut to improve visibility into the area. He also sought a committment from the tenants to remove any horses or ponies from county council fields beside the halting site.
Mr O’Gorman said he would follow this up immediately.
Cllr O’Brien said he could not approve of having three more Traveller families on the halting site. ‘It’s the bane of our lives since it went in there.’ He asked where the three families are living now.
He asked if any more Traveller families will be accommodated in the remaining three bays and was told by Mr O’Gorman that this is not currently the plan, but that the plan may change.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Willie Fitzharris said considering the housing crisis and the demand on Wexford County Council for houses, there was merit in not forcing people into houses when they don’t want to occupy them. Mr O’Gorman said under draft data protection laws councillors will no longer know anything about tenants moving into council estates or housing estates from elsewhere.
Cllr Martin Murphy questioned the worth of CCTV, asking if the cameras are monitored. ‘Are they a waste of public funding?’
Mr O’Gorman said the cameras record footage from the common area in the halting site. ‘You can’t have them shining in someone’s back door. The tapes are valid for a 30 day period and then the footage is deleted.’
Cllr Murphy said if the tapes were analysed regularly it might act as a deterrent against certain behaviour. Mr O’Gorman said the tapes are only looked at if an incident is reported.
Cllr O’Brien called for a caretaker and/or a security man to be used on site. ‘Millions have been spent on Marshmeadows (halting site) since it went in there 22 years ago, All we have to do is apply for money from Dublin and it comes. At the end of the day Wexford County Council is responsible for anything that goes wrong.’
He called for a monthly inspection of the halting site, which Mr O’Gorman agreed to look at.
Cllr Fitzharris said: ‘ I think it would be vital to protect our own property as well.’
Cllr Michael Whelan said councillors were being asked to approve allowing families into an area without knowing anything about them. Concern was expressed that families could move into the halting site and six months later trouble occurs and councillors are left open to be blamed for sanctioning the move. The discussion was adjourned to a later meeting. A new entrance being opened into The Docks Hotel will see a wall causing sightline issues for drivers knocked.
Cllr Anthony Connick said there is a wall beside the footpath. He asked if the council road works on new footpaths, public ligting, resurfacing and the undergrounding of overhead cables will add to the problem.
Executive Engineer Abraham Dunne said: ‘ The wall is coming out as they are upgrading the entrance to the hotel so visibility will be greatly improved there. Cllr Michael Sheehan said the footpath seems to be wider than it used to be. ‘People are saying they have to drive onto the oncoming traffic lane.’
Mr Dunne said the footpath is being upgraded at Goat Hill.
The halting site at Marshmeadows.