Concerns for vulnerable Travellers being taken on board by Government in plan to fight COVID-19
Home > News > Concerns for vulnerable Travellers being taken on board by Government in plan to fight COVID-19
Traveller & Roma Centre welcomes today’s announcement by the Department of
Housing that directors of housing in local authorities are being asked to take
measures that acknowledge the particular challenges that the Traveller
community face in staying safe from Coronavirus (COVID-19).
willingness to respond to the particular needs of Travellers is encouraging at
this time,” said Martin Collins, Co Director, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma
Centre, “It is important for Travellers
to know they are being included in Government plans to stay safe.
“And we call
on all local authorities to show leadership now when it is urgently needed.
There should be a moratorium on all evictions during this time of crisis”
A circular issued by the Department of Housing today asks local authorities to make arrangements to make Traveller sites safer. Government has acknowledged the overcrowded conditions and challenges to self-isolate where the need arises. Finance is to be made available to allow for essential services such as water and toilets. Accommodation may be made available to enable self-isolation and there is a need to ensure clear access for emergency services to Travellers sites, the circular states.
“Pavee Point has been engaging with the Health Service Executive and the Department of Housing who we feel have been listening to our concerns and we hope that, together, we can move forward and help limit the impact of the virus within the Traveller community”
particular challenges faced by many Travellers include-
– Accessing water and facilitating self-isolation for the approximate 3,132*Travellers still forced to live on the side of the road and others living in poor conditions on local authority halting sites
– The difficulties of self-isolation in overcrowded conditions** faced by approximately 5,000 Travellers who have been forced to double up on sites
Travellers test positive with COVID-19 these challenges will increase,” said
Mr. Collins “And the risk is Irish Travellers will suffer the impacts of
COVID-19 disproportionately as a result of many years of neglect,
marginalisation and exclusion.
will be doing all we can to support Traveller organisations and Traveller Primary
Health Care Projects and Traveller Health Units around the country to get
relevant information out to the community in a timely fashion.
“We will continue to raise issues of concern with the Health Service Executive and the Department of Housing and to highlight the important role local authorities have in this situation.”
Photograph by Derek Speirs.