Updated: 21/09/17 : 06:33:13
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Traveller objects to priority rehousing of refugees in Sligo

As news emerged that from next month twenty one Syrian refugee families are to be rehoused in Sligo a Traveller has objected to the humanitarian move by Sligo County Council.

He insists that priority should not be given to the Syrian refugee families who are to be housed on a phased basis over the coming 12 months.

Sligo is obliged to take the Syrians as part of Ireland's commitment to it's relocation and resettlement programme whereby at least 260 refugees will be accommodated in 2017 with the number likely to increase in coming years.

An unidentified Traveller who says he has been on the Sligo housing waiting list for 15 years objected to the move when he spoke to Niall Delaney on Ocean FM's North West Today programme.

"I've been on rent allowance for fifteen years and if they [Sligo County Council] can house twenty one families how come they couldn't house one family."

He continued, "I know the reason, it's because I'm a member of the Traveller community. Why are they [refugees] getting the first choice and not the people of Sligo?  If my name was Delaney or Johnson I'd have a house long ago but the fact that it's Sweeney they're not very forthcoming in giving any Traveller family a house and if they do give them one it's down in Ballinode, with all the students, where five Traveller families are housed where no one will complain."

Mr Sweeney concluded the interview by stating, "Shame on the council,"

The presenter defended the council disagreeing with the guest's assertion of the perceived council policy of not housing Travellers.

Sligo County Council says that no refugee family will arrive until the appropriate accommodation is ready for them.

At a meeting of Sligo Municipal District this week, Director of Services for Housing Bartley Gavin said that they are working with other housing groups to facilitate the families.

However, he says the relocation programme will not affect the current social housing waiting lists in the county.