Detailed Manifesto Below

1. Implementation of the National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) 2017-2021

To strengthen the existing implementation and monitoring of the NTRIS by adopting clear targets, indicators, outcomes, timeframes and budget lines for the Strategy. To ensure NTRIS actions are adequately resourced by all Government Departments involved, including but not only by the Department of Justice and Equality, with the actions taken in full consultation with Traveller and Roma organisations.

To ensure priority NTRIS actions are implemented including:

1.1 Publication and Implementation of the long delayed National Traveller Health Action Plan (NTRIS action 73)

A specific Traveller health action plan is urgently required to address Traveller health inequalities and improve the appalling health status that Travellers continue to experience. The action plan should have a specific budget for its implementation and the Department of Health should establish a consultation structure to drive its implementation and monitoring; and ensure all actions in the Plan have clear targets, indicators, outcomes, timeframes and budget lines.

The Department of Health should also ensure direct targeting of Travellers and Roma in key mainstream policy initiatives related to health, including Sláintecare and Healthy Ireland.

1.2 Publication and Implementation of a Traveller Education Strategy

NTRIS Action 11 commits the Department of Education and Skills (DES) to review the Report and Recommendations for a Traveller Education Strategy. The DES should, as recommended in the Report, urgently develop and publish a Traveller Education Strategy that is inclusive of all ages and educational levels and ensure the Strategy has a robust implementation and monitoring plan with associated dedicated resources and a consultative structure to drive its implementation.

 

2. Ensure full implementation of recommendations by Independent Expert Group on Traveller Accommodation:

Traveller accommodation is at a crisis point as the State has continuously failed to provide adequate levels and standard of Traveller accommodation. Serious concerns have been raised over the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998 and the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002 (see below) by a significant number of human rights bodies.[1]In 2019, an independent Expert Group on Traveller Accommodation set out a clear recommendation to overhaul all relevant legislation and policies which impact on accommodation provision for Travellers.[2]

3. Traveller and Roma training, employment and enterprise strategy:

The State needs to lead the way in tackling the 80% unemployment rate in the Traveller community so as to create opportunity and give hope of a better future to young Travellers. Commit to develop a comprehensive Traveller and Roma training, employment and enterprise strategy with a robust implementation and monitoring plan, and ensure Travellers and Roma are included in key mainstream policy initiatives related to employment, including the forthcoming Pathways to Work Strategy.

4. Financial Investment towards Traveller Inclusion

Establish a mechanism in partnership with Traveller organisations to ensure allocated actions and budgets across all Traveller policy areas are fully implemented and spent. A number of international human rights monitoring bodies have raised concerns at the significant reductions in budget allocations towards Traveller inclusion during the 2008-2013 recession and at the significant underspend of Traveller specific budgets by state agencies.[3]The cuts to Traveller THE specific programming that took place during the recession have not been reversed, and more shockingly, underspending of budgets allocated towards Traveller inclusion remains a significant issue, particularly in Traveller accommodation.

5. Support Independent Traveller Organisations & Traveller Representation

The national strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland, Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities, sets out a long- term vision for community and local development in Ireland and commits the State to involve communities in decisions that affect them and commits to the development of partnership and collaborative approaches to policy and programme development. Funding needs to be provided to support existing, and the creation of new, autonomous Traveller organisations who can engage with local and national structures for policy consultation, design and service delivery including social inclusion programmes. Quotas and/or reserved seats need to be identified for Travellers in representative and participative democracy structures with specific seats in the Seanad and reserve seats in local government community engagement structures.

6. Implement the recommendations of the National Roma Needs Assessment

Providing access to basic services for Roma – has to be a humanitarian concern of the next Government. Child Benefit payments need to be made a truly universal payment, not contingent on the status of parents and fulfilment of the Habitual Residence Condition. The legislative and policy restrictions that impact on provision of medical cards for Roma with no income need to be reviewed. Clear actions and associated implementation plan and resources in relation to accommodation for Roma need to be introduced in the current National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS).


[1]UNCRC, 2016; HRC, 2014; , CESCR 2015; CEDAW, 2017, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, FCNM, 2019; ECRI, 2019; Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, 2016.

[2] Independent Expert Group on behalf of the Minister of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Traveller Accommodation Expert Review, 2019, https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/2019_july_expert_review_group_traveller_accommodation-final_reportrt_00.pdf.

[3] UNCEDAW, Concluding Observations on the Combined Sixth and Seventh Periodic Reports of Ireland, CEDAW/C/IRL/CO/6-7, 9 March 2017; UNCRC, Concluding Observations on the Combined Third and Fourth Periodic Reports of Ireland, CRC/C/IRL/CO/3-4 4, 1 March 2016; UNCESCR, Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Ireland, E/C.12/IRL/CO/3, 19 June 2015; Daly, M., Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage – A Study of National Policies, Country Report – Ireland, European Commission, 2014. The Commissioner, Nils Muižnieks, conducted a three-day visit to Ireland in 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/ireland-advance-equality-of-travellers-and-women. During 2008-2013, Traveller education supports were cut by-86.6%; Traveller accommodation budget cut by -90% with 36% of the allocated budget remaining unspent; FAS SIT (Traveller employment initiative) was cut by -50% with 40% of the budget remaining unspent; 18% of Traveller health budgets were left unspent, in Harvey, B., Travelling with Austerity: Impacts of Cuts on Travellers, Traveller Projects & Services, Pavee Point, 2013.

[4] UNCEDAW, Concluding Observations on the Combined Sixth and Seventh Periodic Reports of Ireland, CEDAW/C/IRL/CO/6-7, 9 March 2017; UNCRC, Concluding Observations on the Combined Third and Fourth Periodic Reports of Ireland, CRC/C/IRL/CO/3-4 4, 1 March 2016; UNCESCR, Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Ireland, E/C.12/IRL/CO/3, 19 June 2015; Daly, M., Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage – A Study of National Policies, Country Report – Ireland, European Commission, 2014. The Commissioner, Nils Muižnieks, conducted a three-day visit to Ireland in 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/ireland-advance-equality-of-travellers-and-women. During 2008-2013, Traveller education supports were cut by-86.6%; Traveller accommodation budget cut by -90% with 36% of the allocated budget remaining unspent; FAS SIT (Traveller employment initiative) was cut by -50% with 40% of the budget remaining unspent; 18% of Traveller health budgets were left unspent, in Harvey, B., Travelling with Austerity: Impacts of Cuts on Travellers, Traveller Projects & Services, Pavee Point, 2013.

[5]Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (2018) Total Number of Traveller Families in all categories of Accommodation. Dublin: Stationery Office.

[6]Central Statistics Office, Census 2016 Profile 8 – Irish Travellers, Ethnicity and Religion, 2016.

[7]Central Statistics Office, Census 2016 Profile 8 – Irish Travellers, Ethnicity and Religion, 2016.

[8]Central Statistics Office, Census 2016 Profile 8 – Irish Travellers, Ethnicity and Religion, 2016.

[9]All Ireland Traveller Health Study Team (AITHS Team), All Ireland Traveller Health Study, 2010.

[10]Central Statistics Office, Census 2016 Profile 8 – Irish Travellers, Ethnicity and Religion, 2016.

[11]All Ireland Traveller Health Study Team (AITHS Team), All Ireland Traveller Health Study, 2010.

[12] Central Statistics Office, Census 2016 Profile 8 – Irish Travellers, Ethnicity and Religion, 2016.

[13]Kelleher et al., All Ireland Traveller Health Study, 2010.

[14] All Ireland Traveller Health Study Team (AITHS Team), All Ireland Traveller Health Study, 2010.[1]

(15) All the Roma Key Facts and Figures are from Roma in Ireland: A National Needs Assessment,2018.