26 Sept 2022

Caravans shifted off school site on Laois Offaly border but Portarlington councillors demand long term plan

portarlington travellers

Halting site at site of former factory.

Caravans have from a been moved off the site in Portarlington in an effort to clear building to start on a new primary school but councillors in the Laois Offaly border town say a problem with temporary dwellings remains.

Councillors for the town confirmed that Laois County Council with the assistance of Gardaí moved a number of dwellings this morning, Friday, February 2.

The dwellings had been located on Canal Road where land has been purchased to build a badly needed new home for St Patrick's Boys National School. 

Cllr Aidan Mullins and Cllr Tom Mulhall welcomed the move, which has been in the works for some time. However, the Portarlington Municipal District represenatives want a long term solution found to the problem.

"These mobile homes have been there for about two years and the issue should have been dealt with a long time ago," said Cllr Mullins.

He said a few mobile homes have been removed and a vandalised caravan taken away for recycling. He said along with site clean up and having to secure the site the Council is left with substantial costs.

"The problem still remains further along Canal Road where about six more temporary dwellings are sited and the Council now needs to turn their attention to this. The community is rightly unhappy and frustrated by the constant illegal parking of temporary homes around the town and the slow response from the authorities.

"What is needed now is an agreed strategy between the Housing Department, Environment Dept and Housing Dept of Laois County Council along with the Gardaí to deal promptly with this type of behavior which creates bad feeling and resentment in the Community," said the Sinn Féin councillor.

Cllr Tom Mulhall said some of the vehicles move today have not relocated to a house on the Balllymorris Road. He said he had already been contacted by residents there.

The Fine Gael councillor said there are now three temporary dwelling sites in the town and it has no reached a point where the council needs to make a site available to solve the issue. Some are located near the GAA grounds.

"I would like to see a designated managed halting site established," said Cllr Mulhall.

He said there is a housing shortage in the border town with up to 400 people on the Laois local authority's council house waiting list.

Laois County Council has developed a six-house accommodation area for the Travelling community near Ballymorris Cross. Cllr Mulhall said a field located to the rear of this property could be suitable but he understood it was designated for other purposes.

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