Monday, July 23, 2007

M50 Roma have assets, say Gardaí

Irish Examiner

By Evelyn Ring
MEMBERS of the extended gypsy family living in squalor in Dublin on an M50 roundabout owned substantial property in Romania, it has ben claimed.

Gardaí believe that members of the Rostas family owned property in Romania, some of which has been described as “substantial”.

The Romanian Embassy in Dublin has made similar claims.

The extended family of 32 adults and 22 children told the travellers’ rights group, Pavee Point, that they came from Tileagd in Bihor, north-west of Romania, and lived in mud huts, tents and makeshift houses beside a rubbish dump. Even living amid shrubbery on one of the busiest road junctions in the country for almost two months was an improvement in their situation, said group member and father of two, Danila Rostas. On Saturday, garda officers served deportation notices on 86 individuals living on the roundabout on the Ballymun exit of the M50 and across the road at a derelict house on the Old Swords Road. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said most of the individuals had been living in Ireland for more than three months and added that there were also public safety issues. The group, who have refused the Government’s offer of free flights back to Romania, have been warned that the Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan, intends ordering their removal from the State.

They have been given 15 days to make representations to the minister as to why he should not make a removal order. While Romanians and Bulgarian citizens are free to travel within the EU, they need work permits to get a job and they are not entitled to State benefits or emergency accommodation. Last Thursday, the Health Service Executive (HSE) took three of the Roma children living on the roundabout into their care. One child, a six-month-old baby girl, was returned to her family on Friday. It is understood that the health authority is seeking to reunite the other two children, aged four and 14, with their families.

Chairman of the Romanian community of Ireland, Vasile Ros, warned yesterday that more Roma gypsies would travel to Ireland if the Government gave into the group’s demand for housing and other supports. He also said the claim made by the Rostas family that their situation was worse in Romania than their set-up in Ireland was hard to believe. Mr Ros said he was consulting other members of the organisation about organising a research trip to Romania to get what he described as “the full story” on the group’s circumstances. Director of Pavee Point, Ronnie Fay, said they were disappointed, but not surprised, that the Government’s only response to the Roma crisis was to issue deportation orders. “We are disappointed that the Government have still not indicated that emergency accommodation will be provided, even as a temporary interim measure,” she said.

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