Budget 2017: A Missed Opportunity
Budget 2017 was announced today, October 11th 2016.
Overall National Traveller MABS welcomes the increased funding for Traveller accommodation and the additional resources that are to be invested in homelessness, healthcare and education. However we are very disappointed that there has not been a targeted approach in tackling both the causes and impacts of homelessness and the failure to date in providing appropriate Traveller specific accommodation.
This failure is in spite of yesterday’s one year anniversary of the Carrickmines Tragedy. It is also in spite of the ruling in May 2016 by the European Committee of Social Rights which found the Irish government to be in violation of Article 16 of the European Social Charter on 5 grounds- including on the grounds of insufficient provision of accommodation for Travellers. It is also in spite of the 6,500 homeless people in the state, 2,363 of them children, and the over 5000 asylum seekers living in direct provision.
Until local authorities are committed to, and obliged to invest in appropriate Traveller accommodation, providing additional funding to this area is futile. From 2006 to October 2015, over 50 million euro, allocated to local authorities from the Department of the Environment for the provision of Traveller accommodation, remained unspent.
Social housing, and Traveller accommodation, can only be addressed in the context of a strategic policy which involves the State dialoguing with the community in order to provide appropriate options for the people seeking accommodation.
National Traveller MABS believe this budget is a missed opportunity on the part of the government to really address the crisis in accommodation in Ireland.