Local authorities accused of "Traveller prejudice"

Eight local authorities failed to invest in traveller accommodation last year - despite the availability of funding

Local authorities accused of "Traveller prejudice"

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin, 02-05-2017. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Local authorities have been accused of "Traveller prejudice" for failing to spend a total of over €1.2m that was set aside for Traveller accommodation.

The Minister for Housing is being urged to intervene to ensure the authorities use the funding provided to them for much-needed Traveller accommodation.

It has emerged that eight local authorities across the country last year failed to spend their earmarked funding.

Cork and Waterford city councils only used a fraction of the available funding, while Kildare, Carlow and Clare County Councils did not draw down any of their allocations.

Kildare County Council was granted €700,000 over the past three years - yet construction has yet to begin on a planned Traveller housing site in Newbridge. 

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council - where ten members of the Travelling community died in a fire in Carrickmines in 2015 - drew down less than a third of the money available to it.

Elsewhere, Galway City Councillors are blocking plans for three new halting sites, despite severe overcrowding at an existing site in Salthill.

Traveller prejudice

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin has accused the councils of "Traveller prejudice" and warned that the situation is, “completely unacceptable, although unfortunately not surprising.”

“What we now need to see is the minister intervene and use his powers to ensure that the Traveller specific accommodation that has been committed to by those councils and funded by the department is now delivered,” he said.

“Well I am deeply angered by the failure of council’s to spend the money that is allocated but unfortunately I am not surprised because Traveller prejudice continues to be widespread among many councils," he said.

He said we now need to ensure that the allocated funds are properly spent and that, “the Traveller community get the accommodation that they rightly deserve.”

Emily Logan chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights And Equality Commission (IHREC) has called for authorities to be penalised for not spending their allocation.