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Accommodation for Travellers remains an important issue that needs to be addressed. Apart from the provision of adequate and appropriate accommodation, there is in addition the issue of racism and discrimination that further complicates the task of addressing accommodation issues.
Further, the enactment of the Housing Miscellaneous Act added to the stress, fear and anxiety of Travellers who continued their nomadic heritage and those who were on the roadside. The law gave authority to the Gardai to prosecute Travellers for trespassing if they did not move on when requested. This proved very difficult as the people in most cases had no place to move on to.
While some Traveller families want Traveller specific accommodation i.e. permanent halting sites or group housing, o thers want standard housing. Many are prepared to rent accommodation until such time as more permanent arrangements are made. In the recent past, Traveller families, who sought rented accommodation, have found it extremely difficult to find landlords who were willing to rent property to them. This trend has changed as a result of a surplus of renting property being available in the private sector and the introduction of the government’s Rental Accommodation Scheme.
The issues of accommodation in County Wicklow are the responsibility of the Local Authorities and are guided for the most part by Local Traveller Consultative Committee and the Local Traveller Accommodation Plans. There have been two Traveller Accommodation Plans for County Wicklow, a five year plan 2000 – 2004 and the second 2005 – 2008. A third plan 2009 – 2013 is currently being developed.
In December 2008, a census carried out by County Wicklow Primary Health Care Project recorded 233 Traveller families living in County Wicklow. The Traveller Accommodation Plan 2009 – 2013 states that there are 67 families in need of accommodation
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