Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (92)

Eoin Ó Broin


92. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the 45% underspend by local authorities on Traveller accommodation in 2017; and the steps he has taken in 2017 to address same. [9688/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas.  My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.  

The allocations and recoupment profiles for capital Traveller accommodation projects can vary across local authorities given the local priorities, circumstances and project timelines as set out in the TAPs.   Local authorities adopted the fourth and current round of TAPs in April 2014, with the five-year rolling programmes running from 2014 to 2018.  These programmes provide a road map for local authority investment priorities over the period.  They also form the basis for the allocation of funding from my Department for Traveller accommodation.

As part of the allocation process, local authorities submit a programme of capital works for individual Traveller-specific projects and developments which are assessed in my Department, in advance of allocations being made.  Further funding is considered by my Department throughout the year, on a case by case basis.

In line with the commitment in Rebuilding Ireland, and reflecting the disappointing level of overall funding drawdown in recent years, in 2017 the Housing Agency commissioned an expert, independent review of funding for traveller-specific accommodation to date.  This review had regard to targets contained in the local authority TAPs and actual units delivered, the current status of accommodation funded and funding provided for accommodation maintenance and other supports. 

Following its consideration of the review, the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee agreed to establish an Expert Group to examine and make recommendations on issues regarding Traveller accommodation policy, strategy and implementation.  The Committee will play a key role in determining the final terms of reference for the Expert Group.  My Department will consider any recommendations made by the Expert Group to improve the delivery of traveller accommodation nationally and to ensure that full use is made of the increasing level of funding available for investment in Traveller accommodation.