Significant unmet housing needs for Travellers in Clare is 'in breach of State’s duty of care' - Violet-Anne Wynne TD
Sinn Fein TD for Clare Violet-Anne Wynne has called out the ongoing issues in Clare surrounding access to adequate housing for members of the Travelling Community.
Teachta Wynne said:
“There are many issues to consider in terms of access to adequate housing for Travellers and some of the barriers impeding it.
“First of all, a recent Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission’s (IHREC) report revealed that only 2% of people on social housing waiting lists have been identified as Travellers, even though Travellers are overrepresented in homelessness figures at 9%. These figures don’t add up.
“Overall, Travellers represent just 0.7% of the general population, so the fact that they have such high representation in homeless figures exposes the inequalities they face.
“Second of all, there is and has been for over 20 years a legally binding onus on Local Authorities to establish a Local Traveller Consultative Committee and have representation from the Traveller Community.
“In Clare so far that has not been achieved and efforts have never yielded the desired result. There are issues of institutional, structural bias and prejudice, most of which is subconscious but is very much there.
“Third of all, the cost to the state to provide emergency mobile homes and caravans for example, is relatively low and therefore it is less justifiable that adequate housing is not provided. In 2020, 100% delivery amounted to €22,180, which is a very reasonable investment.
“In the 5 years leading up to 2019. just seven traveller accommodation units were delivered in Clare.
"Between 2015 and 2019, the Council spent roughly €725,000 delivering Traveller Accommodation as per their legal obligation to do so under the Housing (Traveller) Accommodation Act 1998. However, a total allocation of €1.85 million was made available.
“This phenomenon of Traveller Accommodation funding not being drawn down in its totality in not unique to Clare and was common to most constituencies.
“The recommendations of the Traveller Accommodation Expert Review (July 2019) are yet to be implemented and despite the fact that we are halfway through National Traveller & Roma Inclusion Strategy.
“The report noted that while 94% of local authorities have Traveller-specific objectives in their development plans, only four development plans included maps to identify Traveller-specific accommodation, and only 1 of these 4 has actually planned a future site.
“This ongoing gap between theory and practice; between the great intentions of policy and lack of real life, tangible results for Travellers is in part because of this vagueness and in part subconscious discrimination."