Minister of State Frank Fahey, T.D., today announced details of the successful projects which are to be supported from a special fund to benefit the Traveller Community.
The funding amounting to over 1million Euro will help support a local interagency approach, with the involvement of local Travellers. The inter-agency approach requires a joint effort by all organisations to use their combined resources to obtain the maximum results. The Traveller Inter-agency Fund, as it is called, is an additional form of assistance to support the development of high quality projects.
The fund, administered through Pobal, was set up last year to help projects drawn up by Traveller Interagency Groups which operate under the supervision of City and County Development Boards. Each project will be managed by a steering committee which will provide for input from relevant public bodies, community organisations and Traveller representatives.
The emphasis of the Fund is on practical measures with a view to tackling a range of crucial issues, including:
- the need for very focussed and practical measures which allow Travellers expand their range of life choices and help prevent recurring negative situations, especially for younger Travellers and those seeking employment;
- counteracting negative stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes and improving communications and understanding between Travellers, state agencies and the wider community and
- supporting Travellers in positive participation in local communities including the development of enhanced leadership and representation from within the Traveller Community;
A total of just over 1m Euro has been allocated to projects in twelve areas of the country and these seek to address issues of particular importance to the local Traveller Community. The projects (details below) were selected after an in-depth evaluation of quality and sustainability by Pobal which manages a range of programmes on behalf of the EU and the Government.
Announcing the funding Minister Fahey said; "This funding is a concrete example of the Government's continuing commitment to the Traveller Community. However, this is only a small step and it will take the combined effort of all social partners to make a real and sustained improvement in the position of Travellers in modern Ireland.
I am very happy that my Department was able to call on the professionalism and experience of Pobal, an organisation whose stated aim is to promote social inclusion, reconciliation and equality through integrated social and economic development within communities."
The Minister confirmed that a further round of funding will be made available to Traveller Interagency Groups in the current year.
Reflecting on the difficult situation of many Traveller families Minister Fahey commented; "It is high time that we as a society show practical support for the Traveller Community to allow them participate on an equal basis in our communities."
The Minister singled out access to employment as a key area where progress is urgently needed, saying "Unfortunately the benefits of our economic boom have not been felt by many in the Traveller Community. I believe there is clear responsibility on state bodies to give a lead in supporting Travellers who are seeking employment."
The Minister paid tribute to a number of successful employment initiatives by FAS, local authorities and the Civil Service but went on to say that "more needs to be done and I want to engage with all the social partners to ensure that, working together, we deliver on the commitment in Towards 2016 to a focussed and integrated approach in supporting the Traveller Community."
13 February 2007
Projects Supported by Traveller Inter-agency Fund