Marcus Jones calls for “Irish Option” to deal with travellers.

Nuneaton’s MP, Marcus Jones, has called upon the Government to adopt the so-called “Irish Option” to help deal with illegal traveller encampments.

Whilst recognising that the majority of travellers are law-abiding and do not cause any problems, Marcus drew attention to the determined minority appear to consider themselves above the law. Over a number of years there have been repeated illegal encampments in Nuneaton.

“At one level, this manifests itself in anti-social behaviour but also sometimes crosses into criminal damage, private and public nuisance and the loss of valued enjoyment of public open spaces by the local communities.  In addition, some visits by travellers have led to considerable subsequent clean-up costs, which have to be borne by private individuals, businesses or local authorities, with the burden thus falling on Council Tax payers.

“In order to address the issue of unauthorised encampments, I believe that the Government should consider adopting the so-called “Irish Option”, of encouraging all local authorities to establish a least one official site for visiting travellers and also making acts of deliberate trespass a criminal offence, an approach that’s been successful in Ireland.

“This power, which could be exercised with discretion by local police forces, often in consultation with local authorities, would provide a more timely method of dealing with unauthorised encampments, on private or public land, in contrast to the current powers which the police will only use sparingly, such as “Section 61 notices”, or require often time consuming recourse to the courts.

My constituents have a right to expect that the law should be applied equally and fairly to all and they want to see the authorities given additional powers to deal with unauthorised encampments, which have become an increasing problem, particularly in the spring and summer months. I hope that the proposal will receive favourable consideration.”