The father of a family that was the subject of a letter sent out by Environment Minister Phil Hogan informing neighbours that the family would not be housed in the area says he would accept an apology from the minister if it were given publicly.
Patrick Carthy and his family were the subject of national media attention last week when it emerged that a letter sent by Minister Hogan told other residents that he was “glad to be of assistance” in a decision that the Carthy family would not be allocated a council house in Bonnettstown.
The family has since moved into the house, however, and Mr Carthy said they just want to get on with their lives now.
“It was a very bad thing, what he did,” Mr Carthy said.
After the story receiving national coverage and him sharing his views on “The Sue Nunn Show” on KCLR 96fm, Mr Carthy said he had received good support from friends in town and in particular from the Fr McGrath Centre.
Mostly, he said, he just wants to be able to focus on his family and be able to enjoy the house that they waited four years to move into.
“All I want at the moment is to let it go and raise my kids and just get on with my life,” he said. “It should never have happened.”
Traveller advocacy group Pavee Point meanwhile has said it is “dismayed” by the stance taken by Minister Hogan and is calling for him to send out a letter withdrawing his remarks.
“We believe all politicians and in particular a Minister for the Environment who is responsible for housing and accommodation, including for Travellers, need to show leadership and not to pander to prejudice against the Traveller community,” a spokesman said in a statement. “It would not be tolerated for any other family in similar circumstances.”
“Minister Hogan will have an opportunity to show his support to his Traveller constituents, by sending a letter to the local community withdrawing his remarks and supporting the housing of the McCarthy (sic) family and through his express support for the development of the proposed Traveller group housing scheme in Kilkenny.”