Task Force Report
Source: Task Force Report, Dept. of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Approach to Accommodation for Travellers
In its approach to the accommodation section of its terms of reference the Task
Force took the view that all types of accommodation, including transient
halting sites, should be available to Travellers and identified a two-pronged
approach to Traveller accommodation in the period 1995-2000.
The first is the provision of Traveller specific accommodation. This is
accommodation designed around the distinct needs of Travellers. Within this
approach three categories are required:
(i) Group Housing
(ii) Permanent halting sites
(iii) Transient sites.
The second is the inclusion of Travellers in mainstream housing programmes.
This principally relates to Traveller accommodation in local authority estates.
Traveller mobility as it is structured at present has meant that many
Travellers experience a range of different types of accommodation over their
lifetime. It is important to recognise this in the provision of Traveller
accommodation. Equally, it is important to recognise that the provision of
Traveller specific accommodation is the desired option of many Travellers; for
them it cannot therefore be viewed as an interim solution prior to settlement.
The Task Force Report recommended a total of 2,200 units of
Traveller specific accommodation be provided by 2000, To date the latest
figures that we have, the Annual Count Figures carried out in November 2004, an
additional 315 units were provided, it is important to remember that not all of
these are permanent, we could estimate going from other figures that approx 30%
of these would be permanent: approx 95 units of permanent
Traveller specific accommodation has been provided.
NATIONAL STRATEGY ON TRAVELLER ACCOMMODATION
Based on the Task Force Report, the Department of the Environment, Heritage
and Local Government have developed the following guidelines to shape
Government policy on Traveller accommodation. They are gradually being implemented
and the following table details the progress of this implementation so far.
Source: Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government
PROGRESS TO DATE
Source: The Irish Traveller Movement
1) Each major local authority to prepare and have adopted
by the elected council a 5 year plan for the provision of Traveller
accommodation in their area. The plans would be subject to periodic review by
local authorities in the light of progress and developments otherwise and
including changes in the local Traveller population.
All local authorities defined as relevant housing authorities within
the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act adopted there 1st five
year programmes with effect from the beginning of March 2000 to the end of
2004. The Irish Traveller Movement at the time expressed concern about the
manner and content of some of these programs.
2) The local plans would be co-ordinated by the
Department with the assistance of the Consultative Group(see section 6 below)
into a national plan to deliver the 3,100 units of accommodation required.
The types of accommodation as set out in the Report of the Task Force are:
- Permanent halting
sites(1,200 serviced bays) and 900 houses.
- A network of
serviced transient halting sites (1,000 bays)
The total cost of this accommodation was estimated by the Task Force at 158
million pounds (1994 prices). The extra cost over and above the present
(1996) levels of expenditure is 14 million annually over the 6 year
implementation period of the plan. The increase in expenditure would build up
from 1997 onwards.
The plan to deliver 3,100 units of accommodation by the year 2000 has
not been delivered upon. Only a small percentage of Traveller specific units
have been built in the past five years. While funding has been made available
by the DOEHLG, the local authorities have been slow to implement Traveller
In April 2005 the second Traveller Accommodations Programmes were
adopted, these programmes run for 4 years until the end of 2009.
At present there is a shortfall of 3,544 families still waiting to be
Funding Traveller Accommodation is not an issue, the monies are
3) The Housing Acts and the Management Acts to be amended
to impose on local authorities the obligation to prepare and adopt their
plans by a specified deadline and to provide that, in the event of the
elected members not adopting a plan within the time allowed, the Manager
would then be empowered and required to formally make the plan. When a plan
had been made the authority would be required to take the necessary steps to
secure its implementation.
The Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act was introduced in 1998. The
Act has made the amendments as specified.
In 2005 the Sligo Co. Council Manager had to step in and use his
emergency powers, as the full council would not adopt the plan.
4) A special unit to be established in the Department of
the Environment to oversee the preparation, monitoring, implementation and
co-ordination of the programme for Traveller Accommodation, including the
preparation and enactment of the necessary legislation. The unit will also
serve the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee.
The Traveller Accommodation Unit was established in November 1996. It
played a key role in the introduction of the Housing (Traveller
Accommodation) Act 1998 and the development of guidelines on Traveller
6) A National Traveller Accommodation Consultative
Committee (NTACC) to be established on a statutory basis to monitor
preparation, adequacy and implementation of the local accommodation
programmes, and to advise the Minister as necessary. The committee would
consist of seven members nominated by the Minister for the Environment, the
Minister for Equality and relevant national Traveller organisations and to be
chaired by a nominee of the Minister for the Environment.
The NTACC was established under section 20 of the Housing (Traveller
Accommodation) Act 1998 and includes representatives of the Irish Traveller
Movement, Pavee Point and the National Traveller Women's Forum. The NTACC has
produced a number of annual reports these are available from the National
Traveller Accommodation Unit at the DOEHLG.
7) Wider legislative powers to be given to local
authorities to deal with illegal, indiscriminate and unauthorised parking by
Travellers and related matters. Consideration to be given to prohibiting
parking of caravans and temporary dwellings within a specified distance, say,
one mile of Traveller accommodation.
Section 32 of the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act fulfil these
obligations. The Irish Traveller Movement expressed concern at the inclusion
of this measure in the National Strategy and the use of section 32 by some
local authorities to date has shown that our concern has been well founded.
ITM will continue to monitor the use of section 32's on a national level.
8) There should be a statutory requirement that Traveller
accommodation committees, representative of the elected members and officials
of the local authority and Travellers, be established in each local authority
area to facilitate consultation and to assist in the development and
implementation of the local programmes.
Section 21 of the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998 requires
local authorities to establish Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committees
(LTACC). All relevant local authorities have established LTACC's. ITM see the
establishment and active participation of Travellers/Traveller organisations
on LTACC's as crucial to the adoption and implementation of appropriate
Traveller Accommodation Programmes. The ITM have expressed grave concern at
the disparities in the establishment, terms of reference, and working methods
of some of these committees.