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The illegal encampment has been at Sixmilebridge Railway Station for a year. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Illegal Clare encampment could remain for weeks

Occupants want the council to give them a four-bedroomed house to facilitate their family’s requirements, writes Dan Danaher

FEARS have been expressed that an illegal encampment at Sixmilebridge Railway Station may not be removed for weeks much to the annoyance of local residents who are campaigning for a resolution to this issue for more than a year.

Despite a number of court cases, Clare County Council has not been able to move the occupiers of the encampment to a more appropriate location.

An interim order was issued by the High Court following a recent hearing and this case is listed for hearing again on January 28.

Last June, Mr Justice Senan Allen granted an interim order restraining Clare County Council, which owns the car park, the Garda Commissioner, the DPP, and the State from taking steps under public order and housing legislation to remove the caravans.

However, the following month the High Court lifted this injunction, which was appealed and is still going through the courts.

Clare County Council cathaoirleach Councillor PJ Ryan said all the regulatory authorities – the gardaí, council and Iarnrod Eireann haven’t been able to resolve this long-running saga, a year after the establishment of the encampment.

Councillor Ryan said the occupants want the council to give them a four-bedroomed house to facilitate their family’s requirements.

He recalled the mother of a family member was offered a house in Shannon but turned it down due to an alleged feud involving a different family and felt it wouldn’t be safe to accept this offer.

“The young family that are located in the Sixmilebridge encampment haven’t been offered a house. Four-bedroom houses are extremely scarce in Clare. I don’t think the council has any four bedroom house in their housing stock at the moment.

“The only way this problem is going to be resolved is for housing to be provided for this family somewhere in County Clare. It seems they have the law on their side.”

“It is not a suitable place for a young family of three adults and four children. There are no sanitary facilities or running water in Sixmilebridge Railway Station,” the cathaoirleach noted.

“The living conditions are poor for a young family. The government has to come up with the funding to provide a house for this family.

“All the authorities need to come together to come up with a solution to solve this problem. This problem is not helping the family, local residents or rail passengers.”

He said rightly or wrongly some people were afraid to park their cars at the railway station, which may not be justified as he believes no damage has been caused to motor vehicles.

Councillor Ryan said he understands that the county council is subject to a particular financial ceiling for purchasing new dwellings, which makes it even more difficult to secure a four bedroom property.

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