PQ: Traveller Accommodation

Tue, June 10, 2014

 151. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government  the steps being taken by him to ensure that Travellers are not discriminated against in the allocation of housing, culturally appropriate housing is made available to them and they can access private rented accommodation on the private rental market; the amount of money allocated in each of the past five years for Traveller-specific accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  

 Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan):  In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller accommodation programmes, designed to meet these needs, rests with individual housing authorities. My Department’s role is to ensure that there is an adequate legislative and financial system in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation.

  Accommodation for Travellers is provided across a range of options including standard local authority housing and Traveller-specific accommodation such as group housing and halting sites for bays funded under my Department’s housing programme, private housing assisted by local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies, private rented accommodation and through their own resources. It is open to Travellers to opt for any form of accommodation, including, where relevant, culturally appropriate Traveller-specific accommodation and local authority Traveller Accommodation Programmes are intended to reflect these preferences. Local authorities have recently adopted a new round of Traveller Accommodation Programmes which will run from 2014 to 2018. These programmes set out local authority investment priorities for Traveller accommodation for the next five years and identify the accommodation needs of Travellers and how these needs are to be met, using all of the housing supply options available to the local authority, including Traveller-specific accommodation.

The legislation places a strong emphasis on consultation with all relevant interests in the preparation of these multi-annual programmes. The programmes are prepared in consultation with Travellers as well as with other public authorities, community and other relevant bodies and the public in general. Submissions in relation to the programmes are sought by public advertisement. In particular, local authorities are required to consult with the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committees which are comprised of members and officials of the local authority and representatives of local Travellers and Traveller bodies. These consultative arrangements ensure that the interests of all parties concerned with, or affected by, proposals for Traveller accommodation are considered and facilitate a planned and comprehensive response by local authorities to the accommodation needs of Travellers.

Details of the capital allocations to local authorities over the past five years for Traveller-specific accommodation are set out in the following table.

Year Allocation (€)
2010 35,000,000
2011 15,000,000
2012 6,000,000
2013 4,000,000
2014 3,000,000