Naas encampment near major hotel is closed but another one remains open

Gardaí

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

editor@kildarenow.ie

One Naas encampment is closed but a second remains open

The gate has been closed and a large concrete structure placed in front of it

An encampment which opened on unused land in Naas as gone elsewhere.

A small group of caravans and cars moved on to a parcel of land adjacent to the Osprey Hotel and Rathasker Road overnight. It’s also bordered by a walkway linking the two sites.

The gardaí attended the scene this afternoon.

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At least two caravans and a number of  vehicles parked on a piece of waste ground which can be accessed from the four star hotel car park.

The Osprey Hotel business is closed, apart from guests staying for non-social or non-tourist reasons.

A double metal gate leading to the site from one of the hotel car parks was open when the gardaí arrived.

The gardaí, an inspector and a sergeant, spoke with a number of people on the site and one could be heard asking a woman if anybody there had authority to be on that land.

A garda jeep type-vehicle parked at the gate in an apparent move to prevent more vehicles moving in.

Later the vehicles parked there vacated the site, which is now empty and a large concrete bollard now stands in front of the gate.

Meanwhile, a second encampment is located near an unopened roundabout on the nearby ring road at the entrance to land near Aras Chill Dara, the Kildare County Council offices. 

It’s also adjacent to the new Elsmore residential development,.

Two more vehicles were at that site yesterday (Saturday) and gather are not three cars, two caravans and a commercial van there.

It is understood that both pieces of land are owned by Kildare County Council and the roundabout site is also the entrance to a new technology site which is under construction and which will lead to job creation in the area.

There has been considerable criticism on social media of people moving on to land and parking caravans and other vehicles, at a time when the public has been warned about staying within two kilometres of home and to maintain social distancing to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Over 30 caravans and several vans and cars moved into the Curragh area two weeks ago during Covid-19 restrictions which allowed essential travel only.

The Department of Defence which has official jurisdiction over the Curragh plains, said it was liaising with gardaí on the issue but that it wasn't viable to move on the encampment due to restrictions on encampments being evicted during Covid-19.

A Garda spokesman said last night: "Gardaí and representatives from the Traveller Mediation Service have visited the campsites on the Curragh over the last number of days and have engaged with all Traveller groups camped there.”