Local Councillor Malcolm Noonan has said that current local authority policy on Traveller Accommodation Programmes has ‘abjectly failed’ to recognise cultural requirements of the Traveller Community, and is instead having an adverse impact.
In his role as Green Party Spokesperson for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Cllr Noonan has now called for a comprehensive review of policy on the issue. The Green Party also claims that councils throughout the country are failing to provide any new transient halting sites to allow Travellers to avail of during summer months, which is intrinsic to their nomadic culture.
“The Traveller Accommodation Programme is not just failing to meet accommodation needs of Travellers, but is having an adverse impact on every facet of the lives of Travellers,” said Cllr Noonan.
Cllr Noonan believes that the failures of the accommodation programme are leading to poor physical and mental health outcomes, as well as many other social problems within the Traveller Community.
“Local authorities are ignoring their obligations in the provision of transient halting sites and have increasing difficulties in allocating houses to Traveller families because of local resistance and political interference by councillors and TDs right across the State,” he said.
“There exists an endemic racism towards Travellers that permeates every facet of our society and this is forcing many families to opt for private rented accommodation out of frustration with the slow delivery of Traveller housing. The plight of Travellers is being compounded by the loss of public health nurses, educational supports and other services throughout the country.”
The Green Party councillor also said that there was no urgency at Government level because of the low priority of Traveller issues. He said there was a consistent failure to give statutory recognition to Travellers as an ethnic minority as recommended by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.