‘There will be an all out war if the council goes ahead with this plan’ says Nora Ward
TRAVELLER Nora Ward has been living at the Glenview Halting site for 15 years in what she describes as cramped and substandard conditions.
The mother-of-eight explains that altogether 15 family members share two chalets, one of which was only added two years ago.
“For years we had just one bedroom and had to sleep on the floor in the sitting room and the hall and my two eldest boys had a bed in the back of the van,” she says.
Living in such conditions was far from ideal but Nora says they were holding out for new homes which the council promised they would get at Glenview.
To make matters worse, next to Nora’s Chalet there are up to six unsightly vacant units - hazardous to young children as Nora says: “They are rat and badger infested. When members of the Ward family got council houses they left and those units are vacant 8 years. I was always asking the council to renovate one for us.”
But it was only in April of this year that Sligo County Council erected a planning notice at the site outlining its intention to renovate the units.
“That was the first we knew of it. The council called us in a few weeks later to show us proposed plans for Glenview which also included 3 houses for us, a new entrance and a 10 foot wall across the halting site,” says Nora.
At that stage the Ward family knew that the intention of the council was to move the McGinley family in to Glenview. Nora’s reaction then and to this day has not changed: “I am leaving here the minute the McGinleys move in. We are going back on the roadside. I am not living here with them and I will be refusing any house given to me in Glenview park.”
Nora (43) says there is disharmony between both families and on so many levels it is not practical to place them side by side.
“If it was my family living in Connaughton road I would not like to move into an old Ward Halting site when they wanted a site on the Bundoran road. Why would they want diamonds and settle for stones?” asks Nora.
She reiterates: “We want what we were promised. We coped in bad conditions for years. We feel let down in every way and betrayed. I am 15 years paying rent - €16.35 a week. We feel stuck in the middle of an argument between the McGinley family and the council.”
As for the prospect of living alongside the McGinley family Nora insists the Wards ‘will not entertain it.’
“I can’t even look at them in the town. To put two families who do not get on beside each other like that is madness. A wall will make no difference. You can climb over a wall. Why not give them a place on the Bundoran road. They are entitled to it.”
Nora has no interest in mediation as mentioned by Council CEO Ciaran Hayes.
Nora Ward with her daughter Nora