Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 30 November 2023

Committee on Key Issues affecting the Traveller Community

Traveller Accommodation

Mr. Bernard Joyce:

The Deputy mentioned earlier about a talking shop and that he does not want to see that but that at a local level is what seems to happen. When we go into somebody, and we have members of the wider community coming to Travellers who are living in absolutely appalling conditions, they can only expect that people will be angry. They can only expect frustration. They can only expect that the Travellers have been let down, abandoned for years and neglected. When you are going in there is a sense of balance between going into somebody's space and looking through a window at what their conditions are and then leaving. Unless we get to a stage where people have real and meaningful action and their standards of living are improved that will then bring a bit of an improvement in relationships. However, if they do not see that it is very much a tokenistic measure. That is what I hear from the community more times than not. There are so many people with goodwill who come in and talk but it does not translate into action. Then we go back out again two to three years later and the conditions the same families are living in have not improved or gotten any better. The first step is more about really having clear actions to ensure the standard of accommodation is improved and with that, relationships with the wider community will also improve.