Authorities stage animal welfare day at Cork City halting site

Authorities stage animal welfare day at Cork City halting site

The authorities staged a ‘welfare day’ for animals kept by families living on a Traveller halting site on Cork’s northside on Thursday.

The event at the Spring Lane site in Ballyvolane was organised by Cork City Council, through its Community, Culture and Placemaking Directorate in conjunction with the ISPCA.

A marquee was erected and the ISPCA had various veterinary services on site to carry out a general health check on dogs and horses, to facilitate vaccination and microchipping, and to issue general advice to the animal owners, a council spokesperson said.

The event, which was also attended by gardaí, had been planned for some time and was not a response to animal welfare concerns which were expressed on local radio earlier this week by members of the public who were concerned about the welfare of horses in a field in the White’s Cross area, and about horses wandering the roads in the area.

Those animals have since been removed from the field. 

The event on Thursday is part of wider efforts by the local authority to address a range of issues at the site which were highlighted in a damning report almost two years ago.

The welfare checks were attended by gardaí and had been planned for some time.

In his May 2021 report, the Ombudsman for Children described conditions for children at an unnamed halting site, which is widely accepted to be the Spring Lane facility, as “shocking” and “deplorable”.

There are 66 families comprising some 140 people living on the site and using its toilet and washing facilities which were designed to for use by just 40 people.

The report said residents at the site persistently have to deal with rodent infestations, inadequate sanitation, extreme overcrowding, and a high rate of childhood illness.

The council has since the report, it has spent more than €450,000 on refurbishment and upgrading works across the site and has been trying to buy houses or identify suitable and existing housing stock for the needs of those Spring Lane families who wish to move offsite.

While there have been improvements, Traveller advocates said the pace of improvement has not been fast enough.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner on Thursday, the council said it is committed to improving the conditions for the Traveller community across the city.

“In relation to the Spring Lane site, the city council has delivered a significant programme of improvement works which includes drainage improvements, new water and wastewater connections, resurfacing of bays, provision of welfare containers, provision of replacement mobile homes, construction of bays and repairs to walls at various points throughout the site as well as general maintenance,” it said.

A school walkway, which was recently completed, is due to open shortly to provide safe access from the site to local schools and amenities, and further works including an electrical upgrade to the site and more welfare containers are planned for early this year.


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