Storm damage sees Traveller families housed in top 4 star hotel

By Eoin English

Eleven Traveller families are being accommodated in one of Cork’s top hotels following claims their caravans sustained storm damage earlier this month.

And City Hall has confirmed that it has spent €253,000 replacing 19 caravans or mobile homes which sustained damage at city-managed halting sites in the three winter storms since October.

Eleven families from the Carrigrohane Road halting site secured the emergency accommodation in the four-star Kingsley Hotel in the wake of Storm Eleanor in early January.

A spokesperson for the city council said it was contacted shortly after the storm by the occupants of the units who “advised of damage to their mobile homes”.

The council arranged for the damage to be inspected and assessed on Tuesday of this week.

“Cork City Council is currently awaiting receipt of the assessor’s reports. Any replacements can only be facilitated subject to available funding,” the spokesperson said.

She said the council had no role in the sourcing of, or the payment for, any alternative accommodation for the affected residents.

It is understood that the Department of Social Protection is covering the hotel costs where rates for a standard twin-bed room range from €120 to €230 a night.

A spokesman for the Kingsley Hotel declined to comment, stating: “All of our customers are dealt with on a strictly confidential basis.”

The department said it doesn’t comment on individual cases.

A spokesman said, in general, the department’s Cork Homeless Persons Unit delivers a service on behalf of and funded by the city council which assists with emergency accommodation costs.

The service includes access to Community Welfare Service supports and referrals to existing emergency accommodation such as Cork Simon and Edel House.

But he said people can apply for an exceptional needs payment for assistance towards the costs of temporary emergency accommodation — such as B&Bs or hotels — when existing emergency accommodation isn’t available.

Meanwhile, the council has replaced 14 caravans or mobile homes on the Spring Lane halting site at a cost of €178,000 since Storm Ophelia, and replaced five units at the Carrigrohane Road halting site at a cost of €75,000.

- Irish Examiner

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