Donegal Travellers Project have called on all politicians to come together to find appropriate housing for a Traveller family in the Ballyshannon area.
A house near Ballyshannon earmarked for the family was all but destroyed by fire last night. Gardaí are treating the fire as “suspicious” and garda experts are at the scene this afternoon examining the remains of the house.
In a statement issued in the last hour, Donegal Travellers Project say they are shocked and saddened by the fire: “Donegal Travellers Project was shocked, saddened, and outraged about the house in South Donegal which was burned to the ground in the early hours of this morning, allegedly as a result of arson.
“We are also extremely upset for the family of 12 who were supposed to move into the house.
Over the past three weeks there has been a hardening of attitudes in Donegal against Travellers which has been very difficult for the Traveller community here.
“We are asking all political parties and representatives to come together to address this emergency in Donegal and to identify as a matter of urgency appropriate housing for this family and other families living in inappropriate conditions.”
A second statement issued a short time ago by Pavee Point describes the fire as “arson” and calls on the Gardaí to “provide protection for this and other Traveller families and their property in Donegal”.
The Pavee Point statement in full states: “Pavee Point is disgusted and disappointed to learn of the arson of a house allocated to a Traveller family in Ballyshannon. We call on the Gardaí to provide protection to this and other Traveller families and their property in Donegal and to undertake a comprehensive investigation into this criminal act and bring the perpetrators to account.
“This is the third time such arson has happened following public knowledge of the allocation of houses to Traveller families in recent years.
“Pavee Point would like to commend Donegal County Council for allocating the house to the Traveller family in the first place in the face of local opposition. We call on Donegal County Council to urgently identify a suitable alternative house for the Traveller family.
“In the context of previous negative comments made in Donegal about the allocation of Traveller housing Pavee Point calls on all Councillors to make clear their condemnation of this attack and to support the provision of another suitable house to the family pending the renovation of the house burned.
“We also call on politicians to be more responsible in public comment in relation to Travellers. Such leadership will be required throughout the country next year when the new Traveller Accommodation Plans 2014-2018 are due to be published and approved by all local authorities.”