European report highlights deficiencies in Traveller accommodation

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) published today its findings 2018 on the follow-up given by 8 States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal) to decisions in the collective complaints procedure.

It says that none of the five issues on which the committee found against Ireland in December 2015 on Traveller accommodation have been fully addressed.


Evictions without care to Traveller welfare

These were poor provision of Traveller accommodation; many sites being in “an inadequate condition”; Travellers facing eviction having “inadequate safeguards” under the Criminal Justice Act 1994; the Housing Act 1992 also providing deficient protections; and evictions being carried out without enough care as to Travellers’ welfare.

Substantial deficiency – Traveller sites in poor condition

The report says that while there has been “progress in the provision of accommodation for Travellers . . . there is still a substantial deficiency” as “a number of sites are in poor condition, lack maintenance and are badly located”.

“The legislation permitting evictions fails to provide for consultation with those to be affected, reasonable notice of and information on the eviction,” the report says. “Nor does all the legislation require the provisions of alternative or adequate legal remedies . . . There is no legal aid for those threatened with eviction.”

Carrickmines – shocking illustration of discriminatory barriers

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission reporting to the European Committee of Social Rights  updated on the Carrickmines situation and said of the 2015 fire that took 10 lives  that ‘this tragic event is a shocking illustration of the discriminatory barriers that members of the Traveller community experience in accessing appropriate accommodation, over and above those experienced by the rest of society.”

The European report refers to two court cases supported by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission taken in 2017 in Donegal and Clare.  In Clare the family, including nine children, had been living in unhealthy accommodation circumstances for three years, including rat and insect infestation, and sewage seepage around their home.

In 2017 the Commission represented a Donegal Traveller family, including two children with serious medical needs, living without basic facilities, including running water.  Outcomes are still awaited in these two cases.

This week’s report also refers to living conditions at the Spring Lane site in Cork, which formed part of the original legal action – where they say 31
families, comprising 126 people, 59 of whom are under the age of 12 years’, continue to reside in ten bays in cramped conditions on the site.