Councils under fire as just 18% of Traveller accommodation cash drawn down

Councils under fire as just 18% of Traveller accommodation cash drawn down

Just 18.5% of Traveller accommodation funding has so far been drawn down in 2019.

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, local councils submit funding proposals for individual Traveller-specific projects and developments on a yearly basis in order to improve the living conditions of communities across the country.

Information released in a parliamentary question to the Department of Housing by Sinn Féin’s Eoin O Broin shows less than €2.4m of the €13m allocated has been drawn down to date by housing authorities for Traveller-specific accommodation.

Local authorities in Cavan, Carlow, Cork city, Donegal, Kerry, Kildare, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow have so far not drawn down any of their allocated money for Traveller accommodation this year.

Mr O Broin has described the figures as “totally unacceptable”, and he called on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to take urgent action to ensure all the funding available is spent this year.

He said: “Figures released to me in response to a parliamentary question indicated that just €2.4m out of a budget of €13m was drawn down for Traveller accommodation in the first half of 2019.

“This means that a huge 81.5% of the 13 million euro remains to be drawn down over the latter half of the year.

“The underspend trend by some local authorities on Traveller accommodation is continuing. Nineteen counties have failed to draw down any funding yet this year.

“Five local authorities have not even requested any funding for this year, including Dun Laoghaire, Fingal, Galway City, Laois and Mayo. All these local authorities have a significant Traveller population and therefore have a significant level of Traveller accommodation need.

“We are awaiting the publication of the report of the expert group that is reviewing the Traveller accommodation programmes.

In the meantime, Traveller families are continuing to live in unsuitable accommodation, despite the funding being available to spend.

“I’ve written to Minister Murphy calling on him to take urgent action to ensure all monies are drawn down by the end of the year.”

In 2018, 107 homes were provided under the Traveller Accommodation Programme at a cost of €6.8m, an underspend of 44%.

In 2017, €4.8m was drawn down out of a budget of €8.7m.

- Press Association

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