Notes from Consultation on Clare’s Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme
On July 31st Clare PPN consulted with workers from Clare’s Traveller Primary Health Care Project regarding Clare County Council’s Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme for 2019- 2024 which is due to be put before Clare County Council on September 9th. In the consultation the workers determined that to restrict their comments only to the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019- 2024 would not best serve the Traveller Community in Clare as they feel strongly that it fails to plan adequately for the current and future situation. As a result they put forward their suggestions on Traveller Accommodation generally and have asked us to compile the following notes from the session and forward them to the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, to the Chief Commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and to the Director of Social Development and the Senior Officer with responsibility for Housing in Clare County Council.
You can read the notes here Notes on Traveller Accommodation in Clare PHCP PPN August 26th 2019
Letter from Clare PPN to Councillors regarding lack of services for those in emergency accommodation in Clare.
Mary O’Donoghue is one of Clare PPN’s social inclusion representatives on Clare’s Local Community Development Committee (LCDC). At the LCDC meeting of October 10th she raised the issue of the lack of available services for people in emergency accommodation in Clare. She has followed this up by sending the letter below to all Councillors on our behalf.
October 25th 2018
It has been brought to the attention of the staff and representatives of Clare PPN on several occasions recently that there are no services available in County Clare for those who are in emergency accommodation in hotel rooms and bed and breakfasts. Clare PPN is aware and supportive of plans to open a family hub in Ennis but understands that the earliest this development is likely to be available is February 2019.
Clare PPN would like to draw it to the attention of the LCDC and all Councillors in Clare that there is an urgent and immediate need for the provision of a hot nutritious meal on a daily basis for the adults and children living in hotels and bed and breakfasts in an accessible venue or delivered to them in their accommodation. There is also a need for a laundry and clothes drying service to be made available for them.
Clare PPN believes that families should not have to be in B&B or hotel accommodation on any long term basis but is calling on the Council and the LCDC to ensure that it does all it can to ensure that whilst this situation continues the provision of laundry and hot meals should be looked at as a basic minimum necessity for the well-being of those in this situation and provided for as soon as possible.
Please may I take this opportunity to ask you to do all you can to ensure that such services are put in place and that Clare County Council take responsibility for making it happen.
LCDC Social Inclusion Representative
Phone: 086 404 3152
Clare PPN submission in respect of the preparation of a Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019- 2024
August 23rd 2018
Clare Public Participation Network Submission in relation to the assessment of existing and projected Traveller accommodation needs and the preparation of a draft Traveller Accommodation Programme for 2019 – 2024 by Clare County Council.
Clare Public Participation Network welcomes this opportunity to make submissions in relation to the assessment of existing and projected need for accommodation for Travellers in Clare and the preparation of a Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme for 2019 – 2024.
At Clare PPN’s Plenary Meeting of November 30th 2017 the member groups of Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion College listed provision of support to the Travelling community and Traveller’s rights in County Clare as some of the key areas they wished the Clare PPN to focus on for the year ahead.
Clare PPN notes that at present it does not have a specific Traveller organisation amongst its membership and that such an organisation does not currently exist in Clare. Clare PPN further notes that whilst it continues its efforts to build relationships with the Traveller community in Clare that it does not have the resources to function as a community development organisation or to carry out extensive research into any specific community.
Clare PPN is represented on the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee (LTACC). It should be noted that the LTACC in Clare has not met since January 2018 and that it requires considerable work, support and flexibility on the part of the Local Authority to develop it into a forum where views can be exchanged and strategic progress made towards ensuring that Travellers have access to culturally appropriate long term accommodation in the county. Clare PPN also considers that it is necessary and beneficial for most settled people who are engaged in the provision of services to the Traveller and other minority communities to undergo some cultural awareness and anti-racism training and is willing to assist Clare County Council in arranging such training for staff in relevant departments in consultation with Traveller groups and other minorities in the County.
Clare PPN further notes that it requested (by email dated Wednesday 15th August 2018) two changes to this phase of Clare County Council’s consultation process and to date has not received a response from that request.
Clare PPN requested firstly that the process should be recommenced in September 2018 in order to take account of the August holiday period and to allow for a more substantial participation by the Travelling community and secondly that the notice of needs assessment should be separated from the call for submissions in relation to the preparation of a draft Traveller Accommodation Programme. Clare PPN requested that these separate aspects should be carried out in sequence rather than simultaneously- with Clare County Council’s accommodation needs assessment being made available to the LTACC and other interested bodies before the deadline for their submissions relating to the preparation of the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme.
Clare PPN regrets that the above request was not facilitated and notes that in the absence of LTACC meetings it was not possible to request the above changes except within this consultation process.
Clare PPN notes that since the current Traveller Accommodation Programme 2014- 2018 was adopted, that the Traveller Community have been recognised as an Ethnic Minority group. Clare PPN notes that in 2017 a report commissioned by the Department of Justice and Equality found that Travellers as a group experience extreme disadvantage in terms of employment, housing and health and face exceptionally strong levels of prejudice. Clare PPN considers that it is incumbent upon every state organisation to work positively and proactively to improve the experiences and outcomes for Travellers when they access the state services to which they are entitled. The National Strategy for Traveller and Roma Inclusion 2017 states the following
‘There should be adequate provision of accessible, suitable and culturally appropriate accommodation available for Travellers. Delivery of Traveller accommodation should be underpinned by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, with a view to ensuring full expenditure of funds allocated for Traveller specific accommodation.’’
Clare PPN notes that the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission reported earlier this year that whilst Travellers make up less than 1% of the population in Ireland they account for 9% of the numbers of those experiencing homelessness. https://www.ihrec.ie/discrimination-and-inequality-in-housing-in-ireland
Clare PPN notes from its communications with Travellers and Traveller organisations that they are optimistic and ambitious for the future of their community and believe that issues such as poor access to secure homes and low levels of employment can be improved significantly within the next decade if there is cooperation and lack of opposition from government and local authorities. Clare PPN notes that the Traveller population in Clare as detailed in the last Census (2016) stands at 905 individuals or 271 families as documented in the Annual Estimates of Accommodation of Traveller Families 2017. As Traveller unemployment as surveyed in 2010 stood at 82% and has not significantly decreased since then, it is clear that the provision of homes and other forms of culturally appropriate housing support for some members of the Traveller Community will, for the life of this draft plan 2019 – 2024, continue to be a function of the local authority or national government either directly or through approved housing bodies.
Clare PPN believes that it should be possible to provide secure culturally appropriate homes for the Traveller community in Clare which would help them greatly to achieve their ambitions to progress across all aspects of their lives from education, health including mental health, employment and community resilience. Clare PPN hopes that in the drafting of this Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019- 2024 that Clare County Council will demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that Clare is a place where the Travelling community are valued, respected and are able to improve their own circumstances with the assistance of their local authority.
Clare PPN recommends that the new Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme would consider both accommodation and the wider living environment for Travellers when planning any new developments or when improving or maintaining existing ones. There should be access to services, transport, sufficient spaces for recreation and physical activity and attention paid to ensuring that Travellers have space to live in extended family groupings if they so wish and continue their hobbies, pastimes and trades as well as having access and opportunities to engage in the wider community and access education and employment. In order to address the severe disadvantage which Travellers experience it will be necessary to build secure sustainable culturally supportive living environments in which families, individuals and children can thrive.
Clare PPN wishes to have it noted that the new Traveller Accommodation Programme is being drafted in the context of a nation-wide housing ‘crisis’. It further notes that this is the first programme to be drafted since the introduction by the Department of Housing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and that there has to date been no analysis of how HAP has served the needs of those from minority communities including the Traveller community. Clare PPN further notes that the provision of social housing by approved housing bodies has become a mainstay of social housing provision in County Clare and notes that according to reported figures as of 2017 only 4 Traveller families are listed as housed by approved housing bodies in the County.
Clare PPN recommendations for the assessment of existing and projected housing needs:
Clare PPN notes that work has been done this year on a peer to peer needs assessment in the county led Pavee Point and supported by the HSE’s Traveller Health Unit with assistance provided by Clare PPN and CLDC. Clare PPN recommends that if possible the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019- 2024 should be drafted in light of the findings of this needs assessment when it is complete and available.
Clare PPN also recommends that Clare County Council should make a concerted effort to ensure that the views and experiences in relation to accommodation of the Traveller community in Clare are canvassed before the completion of any assessment of existing and projected need. Clare PPN notes the following two directions from the guidelines issued by the Department that indicate that this is within the scope and remit of Clare County Council to organise-
‘Additional inquiries as may be necessary, including consultation with Traveller families and any relevant Traveller support groups within the functional area of the authority, to ascertain a comprehensive picture of the existing and projected need for housing accommodation of Traveller families within their area for the period 2019 to 2024 to update their assessment of needs of Traveller families within their area.’
‘’For example, local authority officials may attend or arrange public meetings on Traveller issues and arrange broadly based ad-hoc area committees to address problems arising.’’
Clare PPN recommends that statistics on the following issues should be gathered from the Travelling Community and that policies to address the findings included in the draft programme:
- Travellers experiencing over-crowding/forced sharing of accommodation.
- Travellers experiencing homelessness and their experiences of accessing emergency accommodation including bed and breakfasts and hotels.
- Travellers living in culturally inappropriate accommodation due to a lack of provision/poor standard of Traveller Specific Accommodation.
- Travellers living in private rental accommodation which does not meet their needs or has not been inspected.
- Travellers experiences of sourcing private rental accommodation under the current Housing Assistance Payment scheme.
- The projected needs of young Travellers who may be likely to form new families during the life of the plan.
- The particular accommodation needs of Travellers experiencing poor health and of people with disabilities within the Traveller Community.
- The particular and projected needs of ageing Travellers in relation to accommodation.
- Travellers in unofficial roadside accommodation should be surveyed for their preferences. Clare PPN notes that the guidelines for preparing the 5th Traveller Accommodation Programme include the following statement regarding unofficial or roadside sites:
‘Pending the provision of suitable permanent accommodation, local authorities should review the position of Travellers on the roadside or other unauthorised sites in their functional area in the light of the Guidelines on Basic Services and Facilities for Caravans and seek to improve the position of these families by considering making available such services, including water, toilets and waste removal if there are no significant legal, planning, environmental, social, technical or other restraints in so doing. The question of further closures of traditional or unofficial halting sites should also be reviewed pending the provision of adequate accommodation’.
Transient Sites– Following discussions with the Traveller representatives on the LTACC and with other advocacy groups Clare PPN strongly recommends that the provision of transient sites in Clare should be for the purposes of Travellers who are on the road and moving from place to place as is their tradition and that Transient sites should not be used as accommodation for Travellers who are ordinarily resident in County Clare.
Comments on the preparation of the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019- 2024.
Following the completion of a comprehensive assessment of existing and projected need by Clare County Council which is agreed between all stakeholders, Clare PPN calls on Clare County Council to draft a new Traveller Accommodation Programme that aims to fully meet all the identified needs.
Clare PPN calls on Clare County Council to zone and plan sufficient developments of all forms of Traveller Specific and general accommodation to meet Travellers’ needs and to immediately begin the process of applying for planning permission and funding for their completion. Clare PPN notes that throughout the current TAP Clare County Council had funding available to it specifically for Traveller Accommodation and that it failed to make full use of these funds. Clare PPN has noted the explanation that delays in planning processes are responsible for this repeated underspend and so calls on Clare County Council to ensure that following the completion of its agreed assessment that it should immediately commence the pre- construction processes for any developments planned and seek department funding for same. Clare PPN also calls on Clare County Council to ensure that its currently planned social housing developments do not change the designation of sites currently designated as Traveller Specific Accommodation without indicating how and where these will be replaced and seeking agreement from those affected.
Clare PPN further calls on Clare County Council to indicate in its Traveller Accommodation Programme whether it intends to continue its use of and funding of Approved Housing Bodies to provide social housing and if so how it intends to ensure that these bodies are resourced and required to provide accommodation to the Traveller Community and on what basis. Clare PPN would welcome a clear indication within the Traveller Accommodation Programme of which aspects of the programme it envisages being delivered by Approved Housing Bodies.
Clare PPN looks forward to continuing to engage in this process and welcomes any communications or queries in respect of this submission.
Clare PPN Notice of Elections
21st of May 2018
Acceptance of nominations has been extended to Thursday 7th June at 5pm.
Clare Public Participation Network gives notice of its intention to conduct elections from among its membership for the following positions which have become vacant.
- Killaloe Municipal District Secretariat Member.
- Social Inclusion College Representative to sit on Clare County Council’s Local Community Development Committee (LCDC).
- Community and Voluntary College Representative to sit on Clare County Council’s Social Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC)
Clare PPN seeks nominations from its member groups for candidates for each of the above roles.
Election Rules and Process:
- Only groups who were members of Clare PPN on 20th of May 2018 are eligible to vote in these elections.
- No person can represent Clare PPN on more than one external committee or body.
- Only groups with registered from addresses in Killaloe Municipal District may nominate or vote for that Secretariat seat. (Position 1)
- Only groups who are members of the Social Inclusion College may nominate or vote for the Social Inclusion Representative Seat (Position 2)
- Only groups who are members of the Community and Voluntary Pillar may vote for the Community and Voluntary Seat on the Social Development SPC (Position 3)
Each member group may nominate one candidate and may cast one vote in the relevant election- it is each group’s named contact person’s responsibility to consult with their own members in regard to this.
If any group is uncertain about their Municipal District or College they can contact us on 087 1617375 or by email to email@example.com
How to nominate a candidate:
Groups wishing to nominate a candidate must seek their consent first and then must send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information on or before Thursday,June 7th at 5 PM :
- Name of Community Group.
- Position number for which they are nominating a candidate.
- Name of proposed nominee.
- Contact details of proposed nominee.
- A short paragraph (up to 200 words) detailing the nominees’ suitability and experience for the role- this will be shared on social media and on our website in advance of voting.
- A photo of your nominee which we may share with our members and social media followers.
Clare PPN will confirm receipt of nominations by email.
Following the close of nominations Clare PPN will circulate details of candidates to our members and online and voting will be open until June 13th at 5pm.
The names of the successful candidates will be announced at Clare PPN’s plenary meeting which will take place on June 14th 2018. Details to follow.
NB: Even if you have nominated a candidate you will still need to cast your vote to support their election.
Details: Position 1. Killaloe Municipal District Secretariat Member
Clare PPN is managed by a board known as the Secretariat. This secretariat is responsible for running the Public Participation Network in Clare between plenary meetings where the member groups’ views and input are sought. Clare PPN has two part time staff and an annual budget of €80,000 per year in funding which is provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Clare County Council. The secretariat which is a flat structure meets at least six times per year with those meetings usually taking place in Ennis County Clare. Candidates will also be required to attend events and meetings organised by the PPN itself for the purposes of consulting with our member groups. Clare PPN is currently seeking nominations for a representative from the Killaloe Municipal District. The ideal candidate will be a person who is well connected with community groups in the area and someone who has a genuine interest in increasing participation by local groups in Local Government Structures. Whilst all correctly nominated candidates will go forward equally Clare PPN would particularly welcome women candidates for this role to assist with gender balance on the Secretariat which is currently 7/3 men/ women.
For more details on the current secretariat see here
Details; Position 2. Social Inclusion Representative on Clare County Council’s Local Community Development Committee.
The Local Community Development Committee is comprised of Council Officials, Elected Councillors, and various business and community representatives. Among other things LCDC has the job of developing and overseeing the community elements of Clare County Council’s 6 year long Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP). This is an important committee for Clare PPN and its members and we have 5 seats on it. The vacancy is for a social inclusion seat and we would encourage nominations of people who have an understanding or experience or interest in any of the following areas; combatting social exclusion, poverty reduction, anti-discrimination policy making, community development, intercultural and anti-racism work. This committee meets 5- 6 times per year and the successful nominee will also be required to participate on occasion in other networking, consultation and policy making events with member groups and Clare PPN secretariat.
For more details on Clare PPN’s representatives on the LCDC see here here
For more details on the Local Community Development Committee itself see here
Details: Position 3. Community and Voluntary Representative on Clare County Council’s Social Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC)
This committee is made up of Elected Councillors, Council Officials and community and social partner representatives. They have the role of helping to form, advise and monitor all policies relating to housing, estate management, culture and sports in County Clare. The task of each SPC is to assist and advise the council in the formulation, development and review of policy. This committee meets approximately 4- 5 times per year. The successful nominee would be required to participate in other events organised by Clare PPN to inform, network and consult with members on the activities of this committee. For this role Clare PPN are seeking a nominee from the community and voluntary college who preferably has an interest in some or all of the following- arts policy and funding and community art, sports and sports development in County Clare and as this committee deals primarily with issues of housing we would welcome someone who would be willing to participate constructively on matters of housing policy in County Clare.
For more details on Clare PPN’s representatives on this committee please see : here
For more details about the SPC itself from Clare County Council please see Here
For any further information about any of the above roles or Clare PPN’s election processes please feel free to call us on 087 1617375.
Clare Public Participation Network Statement: Date: 17/10/2017
Clare PPN calls for emergency plan to be put in place for roadside-dwelling Travellers during weather alerts.
Clare Public Participation Network’s Social Inclusion Representatives commend Clare County Council and the county’s emergency services for their swift actions and clear and frequent updates during the status red weather alert which accompanied ex hurricane Ophelia on the 15th of October. It came to the representatives’ attention however that there had been no provisions made to ensure the safety of the members of the Traveller community who live on the roadside in temporary dwellings. People contacting the Council’s emergency number were advised that no plan was in place for roadside dwelling Travellers and that they should ‘stay put’ until the storm abated. Clare PPN calls on the Council management and on elected representatives to ensure that a contingency plan is immediately put in place for any future such weather events which would at a minimum offer temporary secure shelter to all of those who need it. Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion Representatives are concerned that a failure to do this could result in injuries or fatalities which could be prevented by advance planning and so it calls on all those responsible to take action before the winter sets in fully.
Mary O’Donoghue, Local Community Development Committee.
Sarah Clancy, Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee.
Dermot Hayes, Social Development Strategic Policy Committee.
George Atijohn, Clare Public Participation Network Secretariat.
Damon Matthew Wise Âû, Physical Development Strategic Policy Committee.
Details: Enquiries about anything to do with Clare PPN can be directed to email@example.com or 087 1617375.
Clare PPN is a network of community, voluntary, environmental and social inclusion groups from Clare. It exists to facilitate the formal participation by the community sector in Clare County Council’s decision making structures. It is funded jointly by the Department of Community and Rural Development and Clare County Council but is autonomous and its activities are directed by its members through an elected secretariat.
Clare PPN’s website is www.clareppn.ie and they are on twitter @clare_ppn and https://facebook.com/clareppn/
Clare PPN’s letter to Councillors about the crisis for rental accommodation in the County
At Clare PPN’s Plenary Meeting on Feb 1st 2017 the members present agreed a motion to adopt a human rights approach to housing. This means that all of Clare PPN’s Representatives are mandated to engage with their various forums and committees from the perspective that every human has a right to adequate housing. As the situation for housing in Ireland and in Clare has become more and more critical the Social Inclusion College and its representatives have taken various actions to draw attention to the issues. Following a meeting of the Social Inclusion College on Thursday 2nd March those who attended decided to ask Dermot Hayes who is the PPN’s representative on the Social Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) which deals with housing to call for an emergency to be declared in the county. The reasoning for this was that it would ensure that attention was drawn to the worsening situation which those in need of housing assistance in the county found themselves. At the meeting of this SPC on March 7th Dermot was not successful in having his suggestion taken on board by the SPC. Following this it was decided by the Social Inclusion Representatives on Clare PPN Secretariat, on the Social Development SPC, on the Local Community Development Committee and on the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee that Clare PPN should write to all the Councillors in County Clare and ask for their ideas and suggestions on dealing with the issues. Clare PPN wrote to all Councillors on Friday May 12th and Clare PPN awaits their responses. A similar letter will be sent to TDs and Senators also.
Below is a copy of the letter which was sent to each elected Councillor
Clare Public Participation Network
Unit 1 Westgate Business Park,
I am writing to you on behalf of Clare Public Participation Network’s Social Inclusion College to ask you to share your ideas and suggestions for addressing the current housing crisis in Clare. The Social Inclusion College is a grouping of those of our member groups who work to redress poverty, disadvantage and marginalisation in the County. These community groups have become extremely concerned by the housing situation in Clare where there are 2505 households on the housing waiting list and where there have been no social houses completed since 2015. The Social Inclusion College is aware of the plans to develop social housing projects in several areas of Clare with Approved Housing Bodies and in Private Public Partnerships and of Clare County Council’s attempts to purchase and lease vacant houses but it is already clear that even these welcome efforts will not address the extent of the crisis that currently exists not to mind the situation which may be in evidence by the time these developments are completed. The Social Inclusion College asked me to contact all of County Clare’s elected representatives and in particular you the Councillors, because it was felt that very often it is Councillors who are in direct contact with those in need of housing.
Clare PPN Social Inclusion College is extremely concerned at the effects of national policy directives which depend on the private rental sector to ameliorate the housing crisis. In Clare the figures are stark, on today’s date (12/5/17) there are a total of 70 properties available on Daft.ie for private rental in the County. It is the current situation that most of those presenting with housing needs in the County are now being directed towards the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) which relies on a supply of private rental accommodation being available and it is clear that there is not anywhere near a sufficient supply of properties available for long term rental in the county to ensure that people and families have access to secure homes. At the current maximum rate of HAP Payment there are a total of 20 properties available in the County.
Clare PPN Social Inclusion college acknowledges that Councillors in County Clare work very closely with people seeking housing and so we are asking you for your responses and ideas on dealing with the housing crisis so that we can let our members know how you envisage this situation being addressed and what actions you intend to take yourself or within your political party to ensure it is addressed. We would be more than happy to receive even a paragraph or some key points about this from you as we appreciate how valuable your time is. We would be very much obliged if you would reply to us either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the address above. Our members intend to circulate and/or publish the responses from each Councillor, TD and Senator on Clare PPN’s Website and social media channels and so we would like to receive all responses before Monday May 29th if at all possible.
Yours on behalf of Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion College
Clare PPN Secretariat and LCDC member.