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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 20 August, 2014

Up to 4,000 Travellers living in ‘inadequate’ conditions

Thousands of Traveller families are living in “hazardous and deplorable” conditions throughout the country – despite agreement by local authorities to arrange suitable accommodation.

Image: Tamsin Slater via Creative Commons

LOCAL AUTHORITIES HAVE been failing to provide appropriate accommodation for Travellers for close to a decade – causing families to live in “hazardous and deplorable” conditions, according to a damning new report.

The Irish Traveller Movement says that there are currently about 2,000 people living on roadsides, in private fields and in gardens across Ireland; up to 1,900 of these are sharing accommodation. In some cases, as many as three families are reportedly living in the same accommodation, with more than 16 people sharing a portable toilet.

The report stated: “Approximately 4,000 people [are] living in at best, basic, and at its worst, hazardous and deplorable conditions throughout Ireland despite the Traveller accommodation programmes locally”.

In continued that few of these families have “little hope” that their situation will change soon, as some have been waiting for up to 15 years to be allocated appropriate accommodation, the Irish Examiner reports.

The Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998 reconises the need for fully serviced, culturally appropriate Traveller accommodation – yet Travellers continue to live without access to the basic facilities of sanitation, water and electricity, the reports states.

Meanwhile, the Examiner reports that some accommodation offers by local authorities have been rejected by families because of intimidation claims or family feuds, according to an unpublished Department of Environment report.

The reports states that 378 out of 2,243 potential homes were not taken up during 2008 – 2009. Nineteen applicants cited fears of “intimidation from local residents” as a reason for rejecting an offer.

Other reasons included: the accommodation not suiting the family’s needs; the property not having facilities for horses; a previous occupant having died at the location; the location being too far from the countryside; the accommodation being too far from schools or urban centres.

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