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Gerry Adams TD criticises Varadkar’s failure to respond on Traveller Accommodation report

25 October, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the report on the ‘Review of Funding for Traveller-Specific Accommodation and the Implementation of Traveller Accommodation Programmes’ (TAP) with the Taoiseach.

The report which was commissioned by the Housing Agency and conducted by independent researchers was published recently. Its purpose was to examine how these programmes were working.

Housing Authorities have a statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation of TAPs in their areas.

Gerry Adams said:

“Travellers are a distinct ethnic group. In March of this year Travellers were formally recognised as an indigenous ethnic minority. In 2011 it was estimated that there were almost 30,000 Travellers in the state – less than 1% of the population.

The report found that the Traveller Accommodation Programmes were not working effectively. €55 million for Traveller accommodation remains unspent since 2000.

The report also found that sixty-eight per cent or 6,394 of the 9,390 units of Traveller accommodation promised since 2000 have actually been provided.

In Louth in 2015 there were 445 Traveller families. In each of the four year groups since 2000 Louth County Council has consistently underspent its allocation from government.

Between 2000-2004 it failed to spend almost €4 million.

In the years 2005-2008 the allocation from government was significantly reduced but again Louth County Council failed to spend over €1 million. In the period 2009-2013 the underspend was half a million.

That means that cumulatively between 2000 and 2013 Louth County Council failed to spend over five and a half million euro that had been allocated to it by government for Traveller Housing.

The government now has the report. The key question is what they are going to do with it and how quickly. When I asked the Taoiseach today he failed to answer.”

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