Portarlington train station
Train passengers as well as neighbouring landowners have complained to a Laois councillor about the condition of a Portarlington Traveller accommodation site.
Cllr Tom Mulhall claims that dumping and illegal burning is ongoing in the field beside the Group Housing Scheme for Travellers on Canal Road in Portarlington.
“I have got calls from people on the train looking down. It takes from the town,” he said.
“It is a disgrace,” he said at the December meeting of the Graiguecullen Portarlington Municipal District.
“It is going on for a long long time. The agreement was that the little field at the back was to be used for grazing of ponies. But ever since there is illegal dumping and burning and temporary dwellings and temporary houses,” he claimed.
Cllr Mulhall added that neighbouring landowners are also complaining.
“The boundary has been cut and dogs and horses are trespassing. These are serious issues,” he said.
“I was against the idea when there were plans for this scheme. Six houses were built and one burnt down. In reality it’s not going to be replaced. It’s in the wrong location,” he said.
He tabled a motion to Laois County Council to clean up the field and fence it.
In response the council’s Housing Department inspected the site and will now apply to the department for money to cover the cost of a new fence and a clean-up.
Cllr Mulhall said he wants no repeat of the problem.
“You have to have a plan in place or it’s all money wasted. There has to be guidelines enforced that this field is only for grazing.
“If anyone else in the country left it in this condition I am sure the Gardaí would be onto them,” he said.
Cllr Aidan Mullins who lives in Port seconded the motion.
He suggests asking residents for proof of bin services, a recent measure begun by Laois County Council to curb illegal dumping.
“It’s ongoing for years. People passing through on the train through social media have put up photos and commented. It’s disgraceful. It wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else. The scale of the dumping,” he said.
Cllr Mullins was also contacted by landowners.
“Landowners have spoken to me on their livestock being worried. It does need to be cleaned up and the fence fixed but we are going to be back here in six months.
“Can the new by laws be tested, to ask people to show evidence of a bin contractor where they know there is illegal dumping,” he asked.