Equality Review of Traveller Accommodation by IHREC

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre welcomes today’s launch of the Irish Human Rights and  Equality Commission  Equality Review of local authority Traveller Accommodation Programmes.

“This Equality Review highlights the importance of an intercultural approach to the provision of Traveller accommodation where Traveller culture and identity is respected,” said Ronnie Fay, Co Director, Pavee Point.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that accommodation can be a life or death issue.  Poor living conditions and severe overcrowding contribute significantly to Travellers who get COVID-19 having higher risks of ending up in hospital, going to ICU and death compared to the general population. “We need to future proof Traveller accommodation in case of future pandemics and we need to press for a complete resolution of the accommodation situation for Travellers,” said Ms. Fay.  

 This Review raises important practical issues that we know are impacting on the provision of Traveller accommodation –

  • spending on refurbishment and renovation instead of new accommodation
  • lack of forward planning  for actual and future Traveller accommodation needs
  • protracted issues with residents from the majority population
  • local authority planning issues

“The report also recognises that Travellers are, in reality, being forced into social housing as Traveller specific accommodation is overcrowded and lacks facilities. This is assimilation and goes against the principles of equality,” said Ms. Fay.

The review also highlights that the issue of Traveller homelessness is largely overlooked by local authorities and that local authorities do not factor in culture and identity for an effective response to Traveller homelessness.

“Local authorities have a responsibility and a public sector duty to ensure that they are achieving equality in their service provision,” said Ronnie Fay, Co Director, Pavee Point.  “From this Review we can see there is a need for new initiatives to take account of Traveller ethnicity in the management of Traveller specific accommodation, the provision of standard housing and in the provision of homeless supports.“

The imminent mid-term review of Traveller Accommodation Programmes 2019 – 2024 must now be revised to include the recommendations in this Review to strengthen delivery of Traveller accommodation under Housing Circular 03/2020, to address Traveller ethnicity in local authority service provision and to implement Public Sector Duty requirements.