Plans have been drawn up to provide proper housing for 103 Traveller families in Co Cork over the next four years.
A draft report on Traveller accommodation needs compiled by the county council, in consultation with Traveller groups, proposes that ideally they should be placed in conventional homes. However, there are cases where specific families, because of their culture, may require group housing, and there are other families that are seeking to access authorised halting sites.
The council’s directorate of housing carried out a survey of Travellers families to identify those most in need and the areas in which they were currently living. A quarter of the respondents said they had lived in the county all their lives and another quarter said they had been in Cork for 20 years or more, while half indicated they had arrived in the county 11 or less years ago.
The report concludes there are 199 Traveller families currently living in the South Cork region, of which 41 are in need of proper accommodation.
The next largest Traveller community was found in North Cork, where there are 103 families of which 40 are in need of housing.
Meanwhile, in West Cork, 22 of the 74 Traveller families in the region will also need accommodating.
The report states that voluntary housing bodies, who are grant-aided by the Department of Environment, “will prove vital in ensuring the Travellers are accommodated during the lifetime of the plan”.
Assistance will also be provided by the county council’s loans section to families who wish to acquire their own home, subject to meeting certain criteria.
Council staff will continue to assist and advise Travellers on housing options available to them, including private rented accommodation, the Rental Accommodation Scheme and long-term leasing. The council has set annual targets to house Travellers which it will review on a regular basis.
The report states: “The success of this programme will require that housing applicants are mindful of the limitations and restrictions that Cork County Council operate within.
“Therefore, in particular, attention has to be drawn to the fact that many families request accommodation in areas where vacancies are unlikelyto arise and this issue inhibits the council’s ability to reach the targets set down.”
It said many other issues such as education, training, employment and health must be tackled in conjunction with finding Travellers suitable long-term accommodation.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved