Travellers and Traveller Organisations Need to Stand in Solidarity with Refugees

The lack of provision of social housing and Traveller accommodation is not connected to the Government’s policy on accepting Syrian refugees or other refugees.

Pavee Point works in solidarity with other minority groups and seek to protect the human rights of all minorities.

“We can understand people’s frustration at not getting permanent accommodation,” said Pavee Point’s Martin Collins, “But people, settled and Traveller alike, need to understand that targeting Syrian refugees will not solve domestic accommodation issues.

“The lack of provision of Traveller accommodation goes back a long time.  Money is returned year in year out as local authorities are unwilling or unable to develop plans for Traveller specific accommodation in their areas.  Halting sites and group housing schemes for Travellers are not being developed.

“As a result Travellers have been forced onto the mainstream social housing and homeless lists and some may see themselves in competition for these resources.

“It is sad that successive governments have allowed this situation to exist.  Local authorities have failed Travellers.  It destroys people’s human dignitiy when they are forced to live on the side of the road with no water, no electricity, no sanitation and on mucky ground – as many Travellers are forced to do.

“Others are forced to live under constant threat of eviction on carparks or industrial zones.  These dire living conditions should not be allowed to continue in a developed society like our own.

“Refugees are also in a desperate situation and do not even have a country to live in.  They are forced to leave their countries, towns and cities and homes because of war, bombs, death and destruction and fear. 

“It is Pavee Point’s view that more should be done to support refugees around the world and in Ireland.  We fully support the end of Direct Provision in Ireland which sees refugees forced to live in camps  – unable to work, to cook, to have a family life and to participate in the wider society.

“As Travellers we have some insight into how this feels and we believe that Travellers and Traveller organisations must stand in solidarity with refugees.