On Wednesday (24th May 2017) Travellers of North Cork launched their Accommodation Rights Charter campaign in University College Cork, alongside plans to monitor the Irish state's progressive realisation of their right to accommodation over the next year.

PPR have been working with TNC since the summer of 2016.

The Accommodation Rights Charter outlines a series of practical measures which Travellers have identified as capable of both providing immediate improvement and beginning a journey to tackle the structural discrimination and inequality experienced by the Traveller community in regards the provision of accommodation. These measures include actions which can be progressed at both Council and central government levels relating to the budgeting process, provision of culturally appropriate accommodation and the right to a remedy when accommodation rights have been abused.

Catriona Dooley (Chair TNC)Human rights monitoring, carried out by the Travellers in Winter 2016 among 95 families, revealed intolerable living conditions and extensive abuses of accommodation rights for Travellers impacting all aspects of their lives. The monitoring found:

  • 64% were on the waiting list for accommodation, 43% of whom had been on the list for over 7 years. Only 11% had ever received an offer of accommodation
  • 67% said their accommodation was unsuitable for their families needs, with 100% on living on Halting sites, Group Housing or in caravans stating that it badly affected their physical and mental health
  • 57% said that there accommodation was not "protected from cold, damp, heat, rain, wind or other threats to our health", with this figure rising to 100% for Travellers living on Halting sites, Group Housing or in a caravan

A copy of the full results can be found HERE.

To monitor whether the state is fulfilling its obligations to progressively realise accommodation rights, the Travellers of North Cork will monitor the following indicators over the following year:

  1. % of people have received formal offers of accommodation from the Council
  2. % of people who said their accommodation was unsuitable
  3. % of people who disagreed with the statement "I know what my rights are"
  4. % of people who were not satisfied with their landlord's response to reported problems

A full copy of the human rights indicators and benchmarks and list of actions which could be used to progress the indicators can be found HERE.

Speaking in support of the Charter at the launch included Liadh Ní Riada MEP (Sinn Féin) and Professor Alastair Christie (UCC) with statements of support coming from Councillors from Sinn Féin, People Before Profit and Fianna Fáil. People Before Profit TDs sent in a video message supporting the campaign to be shown at the launch.

Speaking at the launch, Catriona Dooley (Chairperson of TNC):

"We hope that what you hear and see today will help you to understand the situation more fully.  We urge you to support this campaign going forward, by taking whatever actions you can within your own organisations to promote the realisation of the Traveller Accommodation Charter."

The launch was followed by a protest outside Cork County Council which, supported by other Traveller groups, included a two minute silence for Travellers who have died as a result of conditions created and worsened by their accommodation standards. A copy of the Accommodation Rights Charter was accepted by Chairperson of the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee Cllr Melissa Mullane (Sinn Féin) and an official from the Council's Housing Unit.

For organisations and individuals seeking to demonstrate support for the campaign, TNC have produced campaign materials (in English and as Gaeilge) which people can use with the hashtag #TNC-ARC to demonstrate support.