Funding for travelling community accommodation cut 93% in past 7 years – Mac Lochlainn
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD raised the Carrickmines tragedy during Leaders’ Questions, highlighting huge cuts to funding for accommodating the travelling community as well as the importance of the State to give this community official recognition for their ethnicity.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“Since the weekend tragedy at Carrickmines disturbing information has come to light about the conditions on halting sites across this State and the lack of investment by government and local authorities in safe accommodation for Travellers.
“The Carrickmines site was overcrowded. 29 people were sleeping in cabins and caravans at the time of the fire. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is one of 15 local authorities that drew down no state funding for Traveller accommodation this year.
“In the last seven years funding for accommodating the travelling community has been cut by a shocking 93% from €70 million in 2008 down to €4.3 million this year. A total of 1,536 families are in overcrowded or unsafe conditions. Taoiseach, this cannot continue.
“Taoiseach, will your Government immediately work with the Traveller representative groups to ensure that the lessons are learned and that Traveller families across this State are provided with the safe and adequate accommodation that they need?
“For too long now, there has been a wall of distrust between the settled and Traveller communities. Taoiseach, the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee have called for this State to recognise the ethnicity of the Traveller community.
"It is time for this State to respect the unique contribution of our Travellers community to the story of this nation. It is time for this State to build the bridges of understanding.
“Taoiseach, to build on the solidarity which has been evident since the horrific fire, will you provide the necessary leadership and declare that this State recognises the ethnicity of the Travelling people?”