The answer is "Yes". I visited the scene of the inferno at Carrickmines. The site, although a temporary site established eight or ten years ago, was very neat and clean. However, the units were located around the perimeter and made from the material that had caught fire, as a result of which ten people had lost their lives. It is an extraordinary tragedy and so sad for everybody involved.
The Deputy is aware that an audit is being carried out of all Traveller accommodation units and halting sites throughout the country, many of them in locations with which I am familiar. In Priory Hall, Longboat Quay and other locations around the country, places where all building regulations and planning conditions were supposed to be complied with, there have been fire traps. In this case I assume the corrosive smoke was responsible for people being unable to move when the fire occurred and it resulted in that difficulty.
Accommodation for Travellers is provided through a range of measures. There are the standard local authority housing units financed by way of the Department for the Environment, Community and Local Government's capital allocation for social housing. There is also Traveller-specific accommodation financed by the Department, while the purchase of private housing is assisted by the State and through Travellers' own resources. An approved Traveller housing body, CENA, has recently been launched and is due to commence operations shortly.
It is open to Travellers to opt for any form of accommodation. The 2014 annual count of Traveller families showed that of 10,226 families, the majority, 35%, were accommodated in standard social housing, 26% in private rented accommodation and 5% in assisted private housing, while 6% had been housed using their own resources. A total of 13% were accommodated in group homes or permanent halting sites and bays, 9% were sharing accommodation, 1% were on transient sites and 4% on unauthorised sites. That 4% represents a significant reduction from the first annual count which took place in 1999 and showed that 25% of Travellers were living on unauthorised sites. The reduction is due to significant investment in Traveller-specific accommodation such as group housing schemes and housing sites in recent years.
The level of investment was reduced in recent years, similar to many other forms of investment. Notwithstanding this, €400 million has been invested in the provision and support of this type of Traveller accommodation over the period. Every local authority has a five year programme to accelerate the provision of Traveller-specific accommodation. This requires particular expertise in the consultation process in the provision of the type of accommodation required for Traveller families. The programmes started in 2000 and the current programmes run from 2014 to 2018. During the period of the last programme 500 accommodation units were delivered.
Every council has a local Traveller accommodation consultative committee comprising local authority officials, members of Traveller representative groups and other relevant bodies, including public representatives. The committees assist in the preparation of the five-year rolling programmes and oversee implementation where possible. The National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee, NTACC, is a national body appointed by the Minister. It comprises representatives of the different State agencies and so forth. It is the national platform for consultation.
The site in Glenamuck was not an unauthorised site. It was a temporary site, with services provided by the local authority, pending the putting in place of more permanent accommodation for the families. I understand a site at Glen Druid in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown has been identified by the local authority in its Traveller accommodation programme for the period 2014 to 2018 for a group housing scheme of five units to meet the needs of the residents of Glenamuck. Funding approval has been granted by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and work is expected to be completed in 2017-18. In the interim, the necessity for a fully serviced, temporary site in the area for these families is being discussed and negotiated with a view to it being ready for occupation in the near future.