Environment Minister Phil Hogan has been criticised today for giving assurances to some of his constituents in Co Kilkenny that a Traveller family would not be housed in their locality.
A spokesperson for Minister Hogan confirmed to the Irish Daily Mail that a letter on the matter was sent from his constituency office, signed on his behalf by a secretary.
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said has demanded a Dáil statement from Minister Hogan.
However, her attempts to raise it on the order of business were ruled out of order in the Dáil.
Minister Hogan said: "This is not anything to do with the Carty family per se, but an anti-social behaviour issue, which I have to bring to the attention of the Council if local people there have certain concerns.
"Ultimately, it's a matter for the housing officer to make the decision, and I'm happy that decision … I'm happy that they've considered all the issues."
Fianna Fáil’s Communities Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív said: "At face value, this is a very serious issue.
"A Government Minister personally interfering in a housing allocation process to prevent a Traveller family being housed on the basis of them being travellers would be an extraordinary abuse of power. It would also be illegal under the terms of Equality legislation and the Housing Act.
"The Minister needs to come forward immediately and explain why he allowed a letter of this nature to be sent in his name and with his authority.
"Enormous work has been done over the last decade to reach out to the travelling community to improve their living standards and improve relations with settled communities.
"A public representative in a position of national leadership taking the sort of action suggested in this correspondence would do enormous damage to that process.
"He needs to make a full statement on the matter and he needs to make it today."