Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Traveller Accommodation: Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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I thank the Vice Chairman and also thank Deputy O’Donoghue for his comments on the issues in his own particular constituency. I do not want to overemphasise the work we have done because I fully understand that there are still vulnerable families living in substandard conditions right across this State, which is something none of us want to see. We have a mountain to climb, which will require engagement from everyone.

In the context of the issue the Deputy raises, there is a network of social workers and liaison officers throughout the 31 local authority areas. I am saying that there is no money in the Traveller accommodation budget. The Deputy is referring to a cross-government approach where one is reaching into An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and other State agencies which, I might add, need to step up to the mark in responding and engaging with communities and trying to avert any antisocial behaviour such as that to which the Deputy referred. That is the last thing any of us, including the Deputy and his constituents in County Limerick, want to see or with which they want to contend. It gives everyone a bad name and leaves us all with an even greater challenge to resolve this crisis. I absolutely understand where the Deputy is coming from.