Galway Bay fm newsroom – There were heated scenes at City Hall this afternoon as protestors forced their way into the Council Chamber to demand immediate action on Traveller accommodation.
It’s as 10 Traveller families at Cúl Trá in Salthill received notice to quit the site by earlier this month.
Gardai were called to the scene as protestors refused to leave the building until they were granted an audience with City CEO Brendan McGrath.
They demanded to speak to Mr. McGrath to discuss what the local authority was doing to address the chronic shortage of Traveller appropriate accommodation.
Chaos erupted as a private presentation from Galway Rowing Club had to be abandoned due to the interruption.
Up to 10 Gardai attended the scene – but protestors pledged they would not leave the building until Brendan McGrath and City Councillors granted them an audience.
Ugly scenes followed as some of those in attendance attempted to prevent Councillor Pearce Flannery from leaving the lobby following a brief verbal exchange.
City Councillors have been discussing the events of this evening in the last hour.
Councillor Frank Fahey said it was totally unacceptable for any group to bulldoze their way into the chamber in such a manner and expect special treatment. However, he added city officials had allowed the situation to develop.
His colleague Declan McDonnell said he had seen people manhandled during the episode – and he personally felt that he was under threat.
Addressing the chamber, City CEO Brendan McGrath said the behavior was most unbecoming and staff had been abused during the incident.
Councillor Cathal O Conchúir said that while he did not welcome the unruly scenes, the issue was close to protestors’ hearts and he recognised the difficulties they were facing.
Councillors ultimately agreed that they would not grant protestors an audience at this evening’s meeting following the unruly behavior they witnessed this afternoon.
Instead, they agreed they would hold a meeting with members of the Travelling community at a future date to discuss the accommodation situation.