Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee On Key Issues Affecting The Traveller Community

Expert Group Review of Traveller Accommodation: Discussion

Ms Emily Murtagh:

I echo the Senator's remarks. If it is not a matter that is deeply embedded or deeply related to discrimination, why then is the issue of Traveller accommodation one of the biggest areas in respect of which we have been criticised internationally by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and an area we have been found to be in breach of Article 16 of the European Social Charter? Why also do 30 of 31 equality reviews that have been published so far by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission relate to the delivery of the Traveller-specific accommodation and accommodation for Travellers generally? Those reports highlight independently the level of discrimination that is faced by Travellers. As stated by Mr. Joyce, Travellers are 22 times more likely to experience discrimination in the private rental sector. These are all evidenced by the volume of calls we receive each day from Travellers throughout the country who are struggling to find a home for their families owing to the discrimination they face in the private rental sector and in trying to access Traveller-specific accommodation in their local authority area.

The delivery of Traveller accommodation programmes, TAPs, was mentioned. The 2017 report referenced by Deputy Ó Broin found that only 68% of the planned Traveller-specific accommodation was built over the period analysed by that report. In its last Traveller accommodation programme, Dublin City Council has a new build target of more than 100, but no new units were built over the programme timeframe. There is huge evidence to support the claims that are being made today. It is important the committee is aware of that and that we are all playing an oversight role in that regard. For that, we need a national independent Traveller accommodation authority.


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