News

Armed gardai in stand-off with Travellers at halting site

NewsBy Martin Grant
Woodland Park
Woodland Park

Armed gardai are locked in a stand off with Travellers at a halting site in Dundalk.

It is understood the local authority is invoking a court order to evict families from the Woodland Park halting site due to health and safety concerns.

Sources told the Sunday World that a mobile home is on fire and tensions are high, with the Travellers refusing to leave the site.

It is believed that members of the Quinn-McDonagh clan are involved in the stand-off.

Louth County Council confirmed to the Sunday World they sought the assistance of gardai in the “removal of Traveller families” from the “disused halting site”.

The council said they are removing the Travellers based on “its concerns for people’s health and safety”.

Officials say the Woodland Park has been operating as a halting site by Louth County Council until 2008 when it closed.

A spokeswoman for the council said there was a “lack of interest among the Traveller community in utilising the site” and that utilities were shut down in 2008.

Since April 2015, 20 families moved onto the disused site.

The spokeswoman said that “direct engagement with the families on the site and the Council has been ongoing”.

Late last year, the local fire officer undertook an inspection of the site and it was found to be unsafe and unfit for occupancy, which, the council say, “resulted in the decision to seek the assistance of the gardaí to help to remove the occupants”.

The council claim there were no requests or interest expressed in halting site accommodation.  

A strong Garda presence is in place, including armed gardai.

Gardaí have confirmed to the Sunday World that they are attending at the scene of an ongoing operation in Dundalk.