Just ¤1.7m of avail­able ¤12m for Trav­eller hous­ing spent

The Irish Times - - Home News - KITTY HOL­LAND So­cial Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

Less than a fifth of fund­ing al­lo­cated for Trav­eller ac­com­mo­da­tion this year has been spent, and more than half of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have spent noth­ing at all, new fig­ures show.

The data, from the De­part­ment of Hous­ing, shows that of the ¤12 mil­lion ear­marked for Trav­eller hous­ing for 2018, just ¤1.7 mil­lion has been drawn down. Although all 31 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties were al­lo­cated be­tween ¤2,922 (Long­ford) and ¤1,321,558 (Dublin City) to build and pro­vide Trav­eller ac­com­mo­da­tion this year, 17 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have not spent any of their al­lo­ca­tion. They are Car­low, Ca­van, Cork, Done­gal, Fin­gal, Kerry, Kil­dare, Laois, Leitrim, Long­ford, Mayo, Meath, Water­ford, West­meath and Wex­ford county coun­cils, along with Cork and Gal­way city coun­cils.

To­gether th­ese lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, many of which have Trav­eller fam­i­lies liv­ing in sub­stan­dard con­di­tions, have failed to spend ¤10.3 mil­lion on Trav­eller hous­ing. Just two lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have spent their full al­lo­ca­tion. South Dublin County Coun­cil was al­lo­cated ¤869,642 and has spent ¤927,454 and Tip­per­ary County Coun­cil, which was al­lo­cated ¤25,655, has so far this year spent ¤42,002.

Of the re­main­ing 12 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, how­ever, seven have spent less than 10 per cent of their 2018 al­lo­ca­tion. Clare County Coun­cil has spent just 1.5 per cent of the ¤853,250 it was al­lo­cated. Coun­cils fail­ing to spend their al­lo­cated fund­ing for Trav­eller ac­com­mo­da­tion could face fi­nan­cial penal­ties un­der pro­pos­als be­ing ex­am­ined by Gov­ern­ment.

Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Féin spokesman on hous­ing, who ob­tained the fig­ures, said: “While we will have to wait un­til the end of the year to have the full pic­ture of this year’s draw­down, the fact that just 14 per cent of the al­lo­ca­tion has been spent by the end of the third quar­ter is deeply wor­ry­ing. Equally con­cern­ing is the large num­ber of coun­cils who have not yet spent any­thing.

“It is not ac­cept­able for coun­cils to refuse to pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate ac­com­mo­da­tion for Trav­ellers.”

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