A group representing members of the Traveller community in Galway has accused local authorities of "institutional racism" over a failure to improve accommodation standards.

Galway Traveller Movement (GTM) claims there has been no meaningful progress in addressing structural, safety or overcrowding issues at halting sites and housing schemes across the county.

The organisation says the experience of its members in Galway is mirrored in many areas around the country.

It is publishing a survey today looking at the manner in which health and safety concerns have been addressed since a campaign to improve standards was launched in 2017.

It finds that only minor adjustments have been made at two of 18 sites around Co Galway in recent months.

Problems with insulation, leaks, rodents and traffic persist at most locations.

GTM says there has been a minimal drawdown of funding for Traveller accommodation by both Galway city and county councils in 2019.

Its spokesperson Bridget Kelly says Travellers are being forced to live in unsafe conditions.

She has called for an independent national agency to remove responsibility for accommodation from local authorities.

Ms Kelly says there has been a decades-long failure to provide culturally appropriate accommodation.

She claims this was designed to wear people down and to force them to assimilate by accepting houses out of desperation.

Galway County Council has said many of the issues raised by today's report are not in the remit of the local authority. 

It said in some instances, offers of alternative accommodation are being refused or resisted.

Fine Gael Cllr Peter Roche has urged Traveller representatives to engage with council officials, in an effort to resolve outstanding issues in relation to a number of housing schemes around the county.