Labour to amend LDA Bill to include provisions for the Travelling community

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
24 March 2021

In light of the Government’s disregard of the Travelling Community in the Land Development Agency (LDA) Bill, the Labour Party has put forward an amendment to compel Government to use public lands for culturally appropriate housing for members of the Travelling Community. Labour housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan said there is a need to include every person, ethnicity and community in the provision of decent housing.

Senator Moynihan said:

“We need to bridge the gap for all communities to end the injustice and inequality inherent in Ireland’s housing system, which goes to the root of the housing crisis. Labour has long called for the implementation of targets for local councils to achieve specialised forms of housing and require the full use of grants for Traveller accommodation. We know from Pavee-Point that traveller women in particular spend more time and home and bear the brunt of the impact of poor and unsafe accommodation conditions. Almost 1 in 3 Traveller households living in mobile or temporary accommodation have no sewerage facilities and 1 in 5 have no piped water source.

“Despite the opportunity the Government now has to address these issues in the LDA Bill, the Government has instead opted to completely ignore and disregard the specific needs of travellers in the Bill. In the context of the findings of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Social Rights which found that Ireland is in breach of the European Social Charter with respect to a number of Traveller accommodation sites.

“To redress this, Labour is putting forward an amendment to the legislation which would develop local authority sites for the housing of Travellers in a manner that is culturally appropriate and that complies with the Traveller accommodation strategy in the relevant local authority. This would see the development of appropriate and decent Traveller accommodation on public lands, improving the accommodation situation for the community, enhancing standards of living and protecting the Travelling community. If we are serious about fulfilling not only our human rights obligations but also our moral obligations as a society, we need to protect and support this community.

“Labour believes we need to develop a holistic strategy to improve the conditions of the Traveller community and to eliminate prejudice against Travellers, with a focus on creating economic opportunities. We also want to see local councils achieve evidence-based targets for specialised forms of housing, including accessible social housing for people with a disability along with Roma and Traveller-specific housing, and require the full use of grants for Traveller accommodation.

“If we are serious about building a better Ireland with genuine equality in society, we must build homes for all people and communities. We need to eliminate prejudice against Travellers and put the social and economic structures in place that will lead to the prospering of all.”

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