David Gardiner - WP Lucan/Palmerstown Representative

David Gardiner, Workers’ Party Public Representative in the North Clondalkin area, has called on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone and the recently appointed Chairperson of TUSLA, Pat Rabbitte, to pressurise South Dublin County Council into providing proper accommodation for the traveller families living in inhuman conditions on the Scoil Oscar site in Balgaddy.

Gardiner said:

‘’Both Zappone, who represents the South County Dublin area in Dáil Éireann and Rabbitte, who previously did, are the two most senior people tasked with responsibility for the welfare needs of children. They are both obliged to insist on the Council providing proper living conditions for these families.

The National Traveller and Roma strategy 2017-2021 specifically references the need to ensure that traveller accommodation is underpinned by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure full expenditure of funds allocated for traveller specific accommodation.’’

Gardiner continued:

‘’Funding for traveller accommodation fell from just under €171 million in 2005-2008 programme to just below €34 million in 2014-2018 programme. In addition to this shocking reduction there has been an unbelievable 36% under-spend by Councils across the Traveller Accommodation Programme.

‘’The fact that the Oireachtas Housing Committee was told in November that South Dublin County Council was one of 9 counties which had not drawn down any of the money it had been allocated for traveller accommodation in the past year while at the same time families are subjected to living in inhuman conditions beggars belief. That families, including twenty eight children, have no electricity, no running water and no refuse collection in this day and age is beyond disgraceful.’’

Gardiner concluded:

‘’The response of the Council to try to evict the families while at the same time not providing alternative accommodation is appalling and is reminiscent of evictions in the 19th century. I am calling on Pat Rabbitte and Katherine Zappone to demand that South Dublin County Council provide adequate accommodation, be it temporary or otherwise, for the families on the Scoil Oscar site.’’