Ireland letting down Travellers by failing to adhere to Euro Social Charter, says group
2019-02-01 00:00:00 -

By Staff Reporter


Ireland has been urged to remedy violations against its Traveller population and conform to the European Social Charter, Metro Éireann has learned.


The European Committee of Social Rights, part of the 47-nation Council of Europe, recently established that the State failed to rectify its breach of the charter as it relates to Travellers.


The committee listed the five grounds that include “insufficient provision and inadequate quality of Traveller accommodation, in legislation and practice where Travellers were threatened with evictions and without the necessary safeguards,” according to the Irish Traveller Movement, which welcomed the findings.


It was also found that Ireland has not confirmed its legislation to Article 16 of the charter.


“Legislation permitting evictions fails to provide for consultation with those to be affected, reasonable notice of and information on the eviction,” the report states — adding that while the legislation does require the provision of alternative accommodation or “adequate legal remedies”, there is no legal aid for those threatened with eviction.


The committee also acknowledged that “some progress” has been made “in provision, access and refurbishment of accommodation” but that “a substantial deficiency in providing accommodation for Travellers” still exists, as observed by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in its comments.


Ireland has now been told to resolve all matters identified, and bring its proposals to the committee in October 2019.


“We strongly urge again the Government to remedy the violations found and with the review of the Traveller Accommodation Act underway, a priority for it should be to outline an implementation plan to bring about those remedies,” said Bernard Joyce, director of the Irish Traveller Movement.


“We call especially for a focus on substandard accommodation, repeal of the criminal trespass legislation and resourcing of an independent traveller law centre.”


This is not the first time the European Committee of Social Rights has found against the State in its treatment of Travellers, even though Ireland is not a signatory to the part of the European Social Charter that allows national NGOs to take a collective complaint.


With the assistance of the European Roma Rights Centre, Irish Traveller Movement Independent Law Centre made a similar complaint which was upheld in May 2016.


The Irish Traveller Movement said the lack of “alternative accommodation” was central recently in the threatened eviction of families off a site in Balgaddy, Co Dublin, where families refused to move without the identification of land to reside on as a temporary measure.


The NGO also calls for the “establishment of a national traveller accommodation agency, amendment to Part 8 of the Planning Act, and a response to Travellers in crisis accommodation.”

TAGS : Travellers Ireland violations euro social charter
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