Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (611)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

611. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to increase the funding provided under the Traveller accommodation programme; if his Department has a monitoring role with respect to the way in which funding is spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16678/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, local authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and for the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes in their areas. 

Local  authorities submit funding proposals for Traveller-specific projects on an annual basis to my Department and the Department works very closely with local authorities in order to ensure maximum progress and drawdown of funding.  The capital budget allocation provided by my Department for Traveller accommodation since the adoption of the last Traveller Accommodation Programme in 2014 has increased from €3 million to €13 million in 2019, representing an increase of 330%.  

In line with the commitment in Rebuilding Ireland, and reflecting the disappointing level of overall funding drawdown, in 2017 the Housing Agency commissioned a review of funding for Traveller-specific accommodation.  Following its consideration of the review, the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee recommended the establishment of an independent expert group to review the effectiveness, implementation and operation of legislation and to put forward proposals to improve delivery of Traveller accommodation nationally.  The expert group was established in September 2018 and I understand it will submit a report to me shortly.  

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.