Traveller and Roma Policy in Ireland
Traveller Inter-agency Process
At local level, following recommendations of the 2006 Report of the High Level Group on Traveller Issues, Traveller Inter-Agency Groups (TIGs) were established in each local authority area with a Traveller population involving membership drawn from relevant statutory bodies and the Traveller community. The overall purpose of the TIGs is to improve Traveller access to services and to provide more integrated service delivery to achieve it. The Groups comprise membership drawn from relevant statutory bodies and the Traveller community. The Groups’ first annual conference will be held on 18th and 19th May 2015.
During 2014 the Department of Justice assessed the effectiveness of the structures in place for consultation with and delivering better outcomes to the Traveller & Roma Communities. The assessment made a number of recommendations, that were accepted by the Minister of State for Equality with the aim of improving effectiveness in the structures and progressing the Department’s strategy to promote and support the integration of the Traveller and Roma communities.
In parallel, the Local Government Reform Act 2014 sees major realignment of the Local Government Sector under the auspices of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG). DECLG delivers the ‘Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme’ (SICAP) which aims to tackle poverty, social exclusion and long-term unemployment through local engagement and partnership between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies. A key principle of the programme is to prioritise marginalised people and social groupings within the most disadvantaged communities, by targeting those furthest from access to education, training and employment and those at highest risk of social exclusion.
Travellers and Roma are a named target group of the SICAP and some actions undertaken may be traveller specific, while others may include a number of target groups including Travellers. The range of activities carried out in co-operation/collaboration with local groups, Traveller organisations, state agencies to provide supports to Travellers, typically include:
- access to further education and training
- school retention activities
- provision of tailored education and training
- primary health care and wellbeing programmes
- interagency collaboration
- after-schools and youth projects
- family supports
- community development supports
- employment/self-employment supports
Under the LCDP, Roma are not a named target group but do benefit from LCDP activities under the 'Non-Irish nationals', although this grouping is much broader than Roma.
A stream of funding for Traveller Community Development Projects was provided via the predecessor programme to SICAP, the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP until early 2015. The National Traveller Partnership (NTP) under the auspices of a non-Governmental organisation, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre (Pavee Point) co-ordinated the delivery of the LCDP in partnership with 14 Traveller Community Development projects by means of a community development approach, promotion of human rights and a clear recognition of Traveller ethnic identity. Through its work, the NTP seeks to tackle inequalities and promote Traveller inclusion, participation, equality and the broader cultural awareness of Traveller identity. In early 2015 that funding line transferred to the Department of Justice and Equality as part of its revised scheme. The scheme will form part of a new National Strategic Framework which is being developed to support Traveller Interagency Groups (TIGs) in implementing local strategies based on international, national, regional and local priorities, all in consultation with Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) in each Local Authority area.
The LCDP officially ended at the end of 2013 and was implemented on a transitional basis to the end of March 2015. Its successor programme, the SICAP, which rolled out from 1 April 2015, and will form a part of each Local Authority’s Local Economic & Community Plan (LECP). Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) will be responsible for driving the community elements of the LECP and are required to consult the Traveller Inter-Agency Groups (TIGs) in the development and implementation of the LECP.
Traveller Inter-agency Fund
Discussions are underway regarding a new Traveller Inter-Agency Fund to support the work of the TIGs. This will be central to the successful delivery of improved outcomes for Travellers in the key areas of education, employment, health, accommodation and anti-discrimination. Such a scheme will give additional impetus to the work of developing the mechanics of better service delivery, in the context of stimulating the local Inter-Agency process, to include the link to the Local Community Development Committees in each Local Authority area.
Special Initiatives for Travellers
Discussions held between the Department of Justice & Equality and the Department of Social Protection during 2014 resulted in a decision to transfer the management of the Special Initiative for the employment of Travellers project to the Department of Justice & Equality with effect from 1st January 2015. This decision was made given that the Department of Justice & Equality are moving to implement changes to the structures in place for consulting with and improving outcomes for the Traveller community, at both national and local level. The transfer of the Special Initiative for the employment of Travellers project to the Department of Justice and Equality is aimed at supporting those changes with a particular focus on enhancing the Traveller inter-agency approach in the area of employment. The Initiative retains its original objective of providing Traveller Support Workers and assistance for employment and enterprise development.
Traveller Inter-agency Conference 2015 - Report
Report of the Traveller Interagency Conference 2015
Traveller Inter-agency Conference 2015 - Presentations
National Traveller & Roma Inclusion Strategy
Cork City Traveller Interagency Process
South Dublin County Council Presentation
Fettercairn Youth Horse Project
Donegal Travellers Project
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