Traveller housing unsustainable in Dublin city - report

Updated / Friday, 12 Apr 2019 19:45
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By John Kilraine

Specific Traveller accommodation cannot be sustained in the Dublin city area because of a lack of space, according to an official report.

The City Council, which like all other local authorities is drawing up its five-year Traveller Accommodation Programme, and says Travellers will be encouraged to take up standard housing.

The report says there are 293 Traveller families in need of housing in Dublin city, with 104 families in emergency homeless accommodation.

The report, which was presented to the Housing Committee, states that Traveller families represent 9% of the homeless and Traveller children make up 11% of children in homelessness - but Travellers make up only 1% of the general population.

The report points out that most of the homeless Traveller families - a total of 139 - have expressed a preference for standard housing, while only 73 have expressed a preference for Traveller-specific housing.

However Bernard Joyce, director of the Irish Traveller Movement, says families feel "corralled" into standard housing because of the lack of new Traveller accommodation.

He said many families are living in overcrowded conditions and that the community is facing a crisis.

Cllr Hazel De Nortúin (PBP) who is a member of the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee, said the city council has failed to build any new Traveller accommodation over the past five years.

The council report says that there will be 47 new builds for Traveller families from now until 2024, but 56 families will be housed through standard housing allocations.

Other forms of accommodation will include new halting bays, refurbishment of vacant houses or bays and allocation of voids.

The report says that projects to build Traveller accommodation in Pidgeon House Road near Dublin Port and Grand Canal Harbour in Dublin 8 did not proceed because of lack of interest from the Traveller community in the accommodation provided and the area selected.

The report also lists "challenges", which include families moving from one local authority area to another and transfers between families themselves, which the report states has caused "huge problems".

It also references anti-social behaviour including threats to staff as well as illegal dumping, contaminated soil and copper burning.

The report adds that there can be significant local opposition to Traveller accommodation.