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Travellers being denied adequate accommodation, Ctte told

Travellers are being subjected to “a grave violation of human rights” and systematically denied adequate accommodation, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

“In 2022, over 1,000 Traveller families, including over 2,5000 children, have no permanent electricity or heating,” Barney Joyce, Director of the Irish Traveller Movement, said.

The Committee on Key Issues Affecting the Traveller Community held its session today in the Seanad chamber.

It was “an historic occasion, an important occasion,” Seanad Cathaoirleach Jerry Buttimer said, before handing over to Independent Senator Eileen Flynn, who chairs the committee.

“It’s absolutely overwhelming to have the Seanad Chamber full of members of our community,” Senator Flynn said.

She hailed the development as evidence that “things are moving in the right direction”, adding that when she started out as an activist, “never, ever did I dream that I’d be chairing” such an event.

“These are our houses, the houses of the Oireachtas.”

The “Give Travellers the Floor” discussion saw members of the Traveller Community express their views on Government policies including on health, education, and housing.

Nora Corcoran of the Galway Traveller Movement condemned homelessness as “an affront to human dignity”.

Official figures do not take account of the “hidden homelessness” which includes couch-surfing, she said.

“A national audit or assessment of the needs of Traveller homelessness is non-existent.”

Fiann Fáil TD Eamon Ó Cuiv said that systems which manage accommodation are “very resistant to change” but must be convinced that people “can wait no longer”.

Senator Flynn welcomed younger activists to the session, while also emphasising the role played by those who have been working for decades to improve peoples’ lives.

Speakers paid tribute to the senator’s work and achievements in putting the rights of the Traveller Community on the national agenda.

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