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Traveller Groups vindicated as European Committee finds government violated accommodation rights - Ó Broin

16 May, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local government Eoin Ó Broin has commented on the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) conclusion, which found that Ireland has violated the European Social Charter, by providing insufficient accommodation for Travellers.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Travellers across this state have been living in in badly maintained temporary halting sites.

“This is in part due to the fact that over the last decade funding for Traveller accommodation has been cut by 93% from €70m in 2008 down to €4.3m in 2015.

“Irish legislation, the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, has also has also contributed to the Traveller accommodation crisis, as it empowers the Gardaí to move families on demand and without notice.

“According to the decision of the ECSR Ireland has, “violated Article 16 of the European Social Charter on the grounds of insufficient provision of accommodation for Travellers.” Part II of this Article protects a family’s right to housing in line with the Charter’s overarching aim of achieving social inclusion.

“The Programme for Government outlines some measures to address the deficit in accommodating the rights of Travellers, including a new integrated Framework for Social Inclusion.

“I look forward to the publication of a revised National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy by the end of 2016 as promised in the Programme for Government.

“The promise to a establish a special working group to audit the current delivery and implementation of local authorities’ Traveller Accommodation plans sounds good but there is a failure to provide any timeline for delivery.

“The Committee also found that the government violated Article 16 on the grounds that inadequate safeguards are in place for Travellers threatened with eviction and that in practice evictions are carried out without the necessary safeguards. This has been evident in the treatment of Travellers in Dundalk.

“Sinn Féin has long argued that all legislation that penalises traveller culture and way of life should be reformed.

“Sinn Féin has included plans to overhaul Traveller accommodation in our detailed Housing Policy document.  Measures include the introduction of a Travellers’ Ethnicity Bill and the frontloading of funding to local authorities with a good track record of drawing down funding.

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