Meath and Westmeath draw down 0% of Traveller Accommodation funding

Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Johnny Guirke has spoken of the disregard for Travellers in his constituency after it was discovered that no funds have been drawn down by Meath or Westmeath from the traveller accommodation funding for 2020.

“Having received figures from Sinn Fein spokesperson for housing Eoin O Broin following a parliamentary question, it was indicated that less than 50% of local authorities had drawn down funding from the allocation for 2020, in fact only €6.6 million was used for Traveller accommodation.

“There are only two months left of 2020 and it’s hard to see how the budget for 2020 will be spent by the end of December.

“My constituency consists of Meath West and North Westmeath and to date, both local authorities have failed to use up any of the allocation from the fund.

"Others who have not availed of the funds were Louth, Longford, Wicklow, Wexford, Cork County, Mayo and South Dublin. Most local authorities seem to be drawing down funding.

“While it is easy to blame the Covid-19 restrictions, the Traveller accommodation funding can be used for new builds and for refurbishments. This funding could have been used to fund additional refurbishment measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“I am also deeply concerned that the Minister has moved away from specific allocations to local authorities to deliver urgently needed Traveller accommodation.

“The government must urgently implement the recommendations of the Report of the Expert Group on Traveller Accommodation which was published in the summer of 2019.

“Our Spokesperson Eoin O Broin has written to the Junior Minster with responsibility for this matter Peter Burke, seeking an update on the implementation of this report.”