07 Oct 2022

Portarlington gran in caravans blocking school construction has 'nowhere else to go'

Portarlington gran in caravans blocking school construction has 'nowhere else to go'

Some caravans parked on Canal Road Portarlington earlier in 2018. Pic Michael Scully

The grandmother whose caravans have blocked construction at the new school in Portarlington, has nowhere to go, according to her daughter.

Margaret Casey spoke to the Leinster Express on behalf of her mother Brigid Casey to explain why she is still parked on the site of the new St Patrick’s boys school on Canal Road.

“She is very upset and emotional. She doesn’t want to interfere with the school getting built, but she has nowhere else to go, they move you everywhere you go,” Margaret Casey said.

Brigid is on the site for the past year. She is the legal guardian of three young grandchildren who live with her.

They live in two caravans, one for sleeping, the other for living and cooking.

“They are in derelict conditions, they have no portaloo. She has a paraffin heater and a generator, she uses the launderette in Spar and the toilets in the petrol station,” her daughter said.

The grandmother is waiting for a council house from Laois County Council.

“She is on the council’s housing list. She was in again two weeks ago asking for a house.

“She needs a three bedroom house for her and the kids. They are all set for going back to school, where would she go with them,” she said.

The three children are in the girls and boys schools, including the very school affected by the delay, St Patrick's boys NS.

Both the principal and the local Gardaí have called in to the caravans.

“The principal came to see her and told her the community is in an uproar but she doesn't know what to do,” Margaret said.

“She feels under pressure. The gardaí have been out too but she told them she has nowhere to go. She is in bits now, crying and frightened to go out on the street with the kids. All she wants is a home for the kids,” Ms Casey said.

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She had sympathy for the school.

“They are both caught, both under a hold,” she said.

Other caravans were parked illegally nearby the roadside site outside the GAA centre, but have moved on in recent months.

It is understood that Mrs Casey has been given a deadline of Monday August 27 to move on by the local authority.

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