NINE LOCAL AUTHORITIES have not drawn down any of the €14.5 million funding that has been budgeted for Traveller accommodation this year.
Seven counties, along with Cork County and Dublin South, have yet to draw down any funding allocated to Traveller accommodation in their local authority area.
In Budget 2020, €14.5 million was allocated to the delivery of Traveller specific accommodation.
However, only 45.5% of the funding has been drawn down by local authorities to date during this year.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said that €6,586,150 of the budgeted €14.5 million has so far been drawn down.
There has been no funding for Traveller accommodation drawn down this year by Cork County, South Dublin, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Westmeath, Wexford, or Wicklow.
Cork City and Limerick City have drawn down the most funding for Traveller accommodation this year to date – €1,448,220 and €880,400 respectively.
Of the local authorities that have made use of the funding, Kerry has drawn down the least, taking just €5,930.
Waterford, Tipperary, Roscommon, Kilkenny, Kerry, Fingal, Galway County, Cavan and Carlow have each drawn down between €5,000 and €99,999, while Clare, Cork City, Donegal, DLR, Galway City, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Monaghan, Offaly, and Sligo have drawn down more than €100,000 each.
The figures have been released from Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien in response to a Parliamentary Question from Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing Eoin Ó Broin.
In his statement, O’Brien said that “in accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes in their areas”.
“My department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding,” O’Brien said.
Sinn Féin’s Ó Broin said that it was “extremely worrying” that less than half of the available funding has been drawn down.
“There are only two months left of 2020 and its hard to see how the budget for 2020 will be spent by the end of December,” Ó Broin said.
“While it is easy to blame the Covid-19 restrictions, the Traveller accommodation funding can be used for new builds and also for refurbishments,” he said.
This funding could have been used to fund additional refurbishment measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
“I am also deeply concerned that the Minister has moved away from specific allocations to local authorities to deliver urgently needed Traveller accommodation.”
The Department of Housing has been contacted with a request for comment.