Just 1 / 3 of the funding allocated in the last decade for Traveller accommodation has been spent due to “politics and social challenges surrounding the issue”, the Tánaiste has told the Dáil.
Simon Coveney said “there is absolutely no insufficient effort on the Government’s part however the outcomes aren’t changing” for Traveller education, employment, life housing and expectancy.
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In the decade since 2008 a lot more than €105 million of capital funding, of a complete €156 million for Traveller accommodation have been returned unspent to the Department of Housing.
“That represents a collective drawdown of 67 % of capital funding by local authorities,” the Tánaiste said. “Put simply money that is made available can’t be spent due to the politics and social challenges surrounding the problem.”
He also said “there’s an underlying prejudice, driven by fear, among a lot of the settled community”.
“The only method we can treat it as time passes is through responsible politics that recognises that as a minority ethnic group in Ireland, Travellers have already been marginalised for quite some time.”
Mr Coveney was giving an answer to Labour leader Brendan Howlin who said that in the wake of the presidential election it had been “not for all of us to decry negative stereotyping and hate speech&rdquo enough;.
“We need to take the problem of Traveller marginalisation seriously,” he said.
He referred to as shocking the statistics which showed Traveller unemployment levels at 80 % and that just 12 % of Travellers complete secondary school.
Mandatory school attendance
Mr Howlin asked if there is a have to have an age limit applied to ensure that everybody will be required to stay static in education until these were 16 years.
He also known as on the federal government to take into account specific apprenticeship schemes for young Travellers and put them set up over the State and impose exactly the same mandatory attendance requirement as applied at secondary school.
But he said that the training on the planet would make no difference if businesses weren’t ready to employ Travellers.
“We must have an open conversation, not on the margins but at the centre.”
Insisting that there is no insufficient Government effort of this type, Mr Coveney said former taoiseach Enda Kenny, year in March last, recognised Travellers being an ethnic group formally. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT had published its Traveller and Roma inclusion strategy 2017 to 2021 also it contained 149 actions coping with cultural identity, education, health, equality and anti-discrimination.
“Settled communities are fearful of integration and facilitating housing solutions. As a complete result local authorities have already been struggling to deliver the supports needed.”
But “we should also ensure there’s leadership at municipality level in addition to in national policy in order to change the narrative which has led to so many in the travelling community being desperately disadvantaged through the non-delivery of services they’re entitled to”.
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