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Cherryfield Way Halting Site in Dodder Valley Park. A lost Opportunity
On May 2nd the Representative of Cherryfield Way residents approached Knocklyon Network. He said that he had seen the pictures we had posted of the rubbish at Cherryfield halting site and would like to try and resolve the problem. We stated we were pleased to make contact and would be happy to meet. A meeting was arranged for that Friday 4th of May in the Iona Centre.
We had a very useful meeting. The Representative of the Halting site pointed out what they were seeking was a meeting through us with the SDCC Halting site/Travellers section. We replied that all we have ever sought from the Travellers in Cherryfield was to stop dumping rubbish into Cherryfield Park. We explained that Cherryfield Park was an amenity for the Community and for the Travellers. We pointed out that every year we had to join with Dodder Action and Volunteers from the Community to clean up the area around the site and in the Dodder. We also pointed out that just last year the Council had also spent a five figure sum cleaning up the site.
The traveller representative pointed out that last November 2017, Cherryfield halting site residents had signed up to a new program. This program was to supply large Bins on the site which would be emptied weekly by a private company and the travellers would contribute to the cost. We pointed out that we were aware of this program and thought it would be in place by now. The travellers were willing to do an initial clean up of the area into a giant skip and maintain the area clean after that once this scheme started. They asked for the Network to try and arrange a meeting with the man in charge of Halting sites in the Council, and gave us his name. There were four issues they wanted to discuss at this meeting. Bins : Speed Ramps: Paint : New residents to the Halting site.
A meeting was finally agreed for Wednesday morning the 30th of May. Two representatives of the Halting site, two representatives of Knocklyon Network and three representatives of the Council including the head of the Halting site section. The meeting was not codcted as a pleasant discussion type. There was a lot of aggravation between the Council and the Travellers, as there would appear to have been a lot of history to their relationship. We tried to keep people focused on the issues and to get some results. The main gain for us would of course be to get the site and more important the surrounding area cleaned up.
On the bins ,even though the Council had proposed the program and got people to sign up to it the previous year,they had not been able to manage how to make the deductions from the Travellers Social Welfare payments. This they said was the reason for no progress on this issue. It was stated that this was nearly sorted and they were waiting on finalisation with the Dept. of Social Protection.
On Speed bumps this was an area that had been examined at various times. The problem is that other Travellers, from other areas coming into the site to visit family members speed , do hand-brake turns etc. The travellers cannot control this situation themselves as it would lead to fights etc. so they are reliant on the Council to install speed ramps to stop the speeding. It was agreed that the Road Engineers would look at this and respond in two weeks maximum.
Paint. The Travellers had offered that if the Council supplied the paint , they would paint the place themselves. The Council official pointed out that the CEO of the Council was working on a scheme with Solas and Painter apprentices to do work like this for the Council. They would let all know when this project was starting and when Cherryfield Way might be included.
On the final point, it was made quite clear to the Travellers representatives that they would have no say in the selection of who would get vacant sites in Cherryfield Way. These were selected from the Housing list and priority was based on a wide range of Criteria.
We had hoped that within a couple of weeks we would have some positive results on one and two. The Travellers had repeated on several occasions that if they got the bins they would clean up the area,which was what we wanted and hoped for from these discussions.
So four months later despite repeated calls to the Council and the head of the Traveller Department, NOTHING has happened. We see bins in halting sites in DLR area. We cannot understand how the Council can announce a program last November and still not implement it. Is it once again a case of it being in Knocklyon. Knocklyon people don’t care about the state of their Park or is it just a case of Knocklyon does not count when it comes to funding from SDCC. All the money goes to Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan, because they are deprived areas.
The traveller representative still contacts us to see if we have any progress to report, but we cannot even get a reply from the Council. We have not named the Council official involved, as we felt his hands were tied by the people above him. But certainly it seems a lack of democracy, when it is decided about our services, as to who gets them by some faceless , unelected officials.