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8th April 2020 | Coronavirus, Local Government, Press Releases

International Traveller and Roma Day highlights the need for stronger Covid-19 supports for vulnerable communities

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The Green Party today called on the government and local authorities to step up their efforts to support members of the travelling community who are at high risk of contracting Covid-19. Speaking on International Traveller and Roma Day, Green Party Councillor for Ballyfermot-Drimnagh Sophie Nicoullaud said: “The Minister and all local authorities need to support organisations working with travellers to install extra caravans and do the necessary works to ensure that travellers have access to running water and extra toilets at this time.

Green Party TD for Dublin South Central Patrick Costello TD said: “Members of the travelling community are living in fear of this virus and don’t need the extra stress of not knowing what would happen to their loved ones if they need to isolate.

“Some local authorities have been liaising with the homeless services in cases where travellers need to be isolated. This only adds further to the stigma for traveller families. It’s important that the community is supported too during these challenging times.”

Deputy Francis Noel Duffy, Green Party Spokesperson for Housing and Local Government said: “The Department of Housing issued a circular on March 18th outlining much-needed supports for travellers, but its implementation has been mixed and is deeply lacking in some parts of the country. Ever year local authorities fail to invest in traveller accomodation, so now more than ever the Minister must be proactive and oversee full implementation of his circular.”

Cllr. Sophie Nicoullaud has called on Dublin City Council to hold a special video conference of its Traveller Accommodation Unit to tackle urgent issues around access to sanitary facilities on sites across Dublin. She said: “Organisations working with travellers should not have to fight to get basic sanitary measures for the community. The Department needs to do more.

“I have been working with the travelling community in Labre Park, Ballyfermot to improve living conditions. Many there suffer from pre-existing lung issues and are extremely nervous and vulnerable at this time. They need to be vigilant against the spread Covid 19.”