Over €4m for Traveller housing left unspent
Local authorities spent just €4.8m out of available €9m in funding for Traveller housing
Nine councils did not invest any funds in Traveller housing schemes in 2017, and only seven local authorities drew down the entire amount they were allocated, according to figures from the Department of Housing
Local authorities failed to spend €4.1 million in funding allocated to invest in Traveller housing last year.
The overall budget for building and upgrading Traveller-specific accommodation was increased to €9 million last year by the Department of Housing, but the 31 local councils only drew down €4.8 million of the available money last year.
Nine councils did not invest any funds in housing schemes, and only seven local authorities drew down the entire amount they were allocated, according to figures from the department.
Statistics from the 2016 Census show 517 Travellers were recorded as homeless, an increase on the 163 in the 2011 Census.
In Cork City Council, where 50 families are recorded as living in overcrowded housing, the authority spent just €97,000 out of an available €1.1 million.
South Dublin County Council spent none of the €1 million provided to invest in housing last year.
Meath County Council spent €5,750 out of €129,000 allocated, and Galway County Council spent none of its €625,000 fund. Clare County Council spent €42,444 from an available €169,194.
In Waterford the local authority invested €22,610 out of an available €545,000. Previously a spokeswoman for the council said the authority expected to spend the majority of the funds by the end of the year on refurbishment projects at two existing halting sites.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council last year spent €1.8 million on Traveller accommodation, which included four new homes for a family in Carrickmines that lost 10 family members in a fire in 2015.
A spokeswoman for the Irish Traveller Movement said there has been a “consistent lack of delivery in specific local authorities” on Traveller accommodation.
She said another problem was that a large percentage of funds were spent on upgrade works rather than building additional housing, and councils were also “directing Travellers toward private rented accommodation”.