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 and acknowledge the work done by Deputy Flaherty in County Longford on this issue. Like me, he is very familiar with this issue. As I said at the beginning, we are trying to get completely accurate data so that we can understand the demand and where it lies in respect of the requirements of the Traveller community. That will give us a better understanding in how to respond to this significant challenge. The Deputy is correct to reference the per capitapopulation of members of the Traveller community in Longford who certainly enrich the area. We have significant work to do to support this community through the local authority network.

Since I became Minister of State in November, we have given quite significant additional support. Again, as I pointed out earlier, the capital budget next year has been increased by 25% on 2020. This is significant work and funding which I want to have spent. I want County Longford to ensure that it spends its allocation and, working with the Deputy, we can both ensure that it does that.

If members have specific areas or sites of concern in their constituencies, I ask them to let me know about them. I will try to resolve them and to apply pressure to try to ensure that better standards are maintained within them which is also very important.