Today our thoughts and sympathies go to the Traveller families of all those who tragically lost their lives in a devastating fire at a halting site in Carrickmines, Co Dublin.
This must be one of the worst fires in terms of fatalities in recent years and even more devastating as it raises serious questions of the safety on halting sites which experience severe overcrowding and intolerable conditions due to the state’s failure to deliver on its obligations for Traveller accommodation.
In July 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) once again calling on the Irish Government to “take concrete steps to recognize Travellers as an ethnic minority group, and amend the Housing Act of 2002 to meet the specific accommodation requirements of Traveller families”
In a statement Cllr Brid Smith said “Travellers continue to be forced to live in intolerable conditions often without access to the most basis of services such as water, sanitation or electricity as the budget for Traveller accommodation has been virtually wiped out with the national budget reduced from €70 million in 2007 to €4.1 million in 2014.”
“As Chairperson of the Dublin City Council Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee I work with a number of Traveller organisations in calling on DCC and indeed the Government to deliver on its obligations for Traveller Accommodation.
While we await the full details of the cause of this tragedy, we must highlight the seriousness of the safety on many halting site as Travellers calls for better conditions have been virtually ignored.
Such a tragedy must never be allowed to happen again,”
People Before Profit Cllr Brid Smith and Richard Boyd Barrett TD call on this government to reverse its disinvestment in Traveller Accommodation, to reinstate the full necessary Traveller Accommodation budget in next Tuesday’s national budget, to deliver on culturally appropriate accommodation for Travellers. To immediately carry out a safety assessment of all sites and work with the local Traveller organisations and communities to redress same within a context of respecting the cultural rights of Travellers.