Local authorities told to draw up Traveller accommodation equality action plans

Local authorities told to draw up Traveller accommodation equality action plans

Sinéad Gibney

Seven local authorities have been asked to prepare and implement an equality and action plan on the provision of Traveller accommodation and services.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is making the request of local authorities in South Dublin, Limerick City and County, Tipperary, Donegal, Mayo, Cork City and Wicklow using its powers under section 32(1) of the IHREC Act 2014.

In 2019, the rights body invited all 31 local authorities in the State to undertake an equality review of their provision of Traveller accommodation. Based on those responses, the body selected seven local authorities to develop equality and action plans.

The plans “should identify specific actions that ensure the effective implementation of the findings in the equality review and the related published account of that review, including the Commission recommendations”, the body said. “We propose that the local authorities detail and map these actions with timelines for completion.”

The Commission has provided general guidance to the seven local authorities and stressed the importance of consultation with members of the Traveller community, the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee (LTACC), and local and national groups representing members of the Traveller community.

Chief commissioner Sinéad Gibney said: “This is an important opportunity to improve the provision of Traveller-specific accommodation services and it will provide valuable learning for the future, including new practices to better meet the needs of our Traveller population.

“The State’s failure to provide culturally appropriate accommodation for members of the Traveller community has long been criticised by the UN, the EU and various international human rights bodies. It has resulted in Traveller individuals and families living in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, being forced into homelessness, and leaving behind their cultural heritage.

“Equality law must identify solutions in areas like this, which are, for myriad reasons, resistant to change. We look forward to working positively and progressively with the local authorities involved to achieve best practice in providing accommodation to Traveller communities nationwide.”

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