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Government must urgently implement recommendations of review of caravan loan scheme – Ó Broin

20 March, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has called on the Department of Housing to urgently implement the recommendations of the review of the Scheme of Loans and Grants for the Purchase of Caravans by Travellers.

The review was conducted by the Housing Agency in 2017, but was only made public after a Freedom of Information request by Teachta Ó Broin.

Commenting on the findings of the review, the Dublin Mid-West TD said:

“The aim of the Caravan Loan Scheme was to provide loans or, grants in the case of first time buyers, to assist travellers to replace or purchase caravans.

“The main findings of the review indicate that the operation and scale of the scheme varied depending on the local authority. At the time the report was completed in August 2017, 61% of local authorities operated no scheme. 

“Across the board, the report indicates that there was a low level of loans provided. Between the years 2000 and 2016, there were 1,121 loans provided, valuing approx. €6.25m. 

“The issue of arrears should not be used as an excuse by local authorities to not implement a caravan loan scheme. The review finds that the issue of arrears is being dealt with by changes to the Household Budget Scheme.

“In fact, a few local authorities are reintroducing the scheme as a result of these changes.

“The review makes a number of sensible recommendations that the government should not hesitate in implementing. 

“It proposes that the current scheme for loans and grants for Travellers to purchase caravans operated by local authorities should be continued and that it be revised and expanded.

“Secondly the review recommends that the Department of Housing should consider introducing a state-wide procurement framework for registered suppliers of caravans. 

“Finally, the Department of Housing should also investigate how to reinstate the Lough Payment Scheme. This scheme assisted Travellers to accessing credit at affordable rates through their credit unions. It was developed over several years alongside the National Traveller MABS.

“These recommendations are sensible and could make a positive impact for traveller families living in substandard caravans and over-crowded conditions.” 

Note Please see the Report attached

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