The Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Frank Fahey, T.D., has announced the establishment of the National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee (NTMAC). Comprising representatives of Government Departments and other public bodies, Traveller Organisations and a number of individual Traveller representatives, as well as other social partners, the establishment of the Committee follows a commitment in Towards 2016 where the social partners undertook to pursue improved outcomes for the Traveller Community, including accessing employment and developing communications between Traveller and Settled communities.
The Committee will work under the independent chairmanship of Mr. Kevin Bonner and will make a report every two years on issues of ongoing concern. It will have a cross-cutting role and will address issues other than those being addressed in existing Departmental Committees.
The inaugural meeting of the Committee was attended by the Taoiseach and Minister Fahey. The Taoiseach emphasised the Government's commitment to achieving greater progress in service delivery and in improving the range of life choices available to Travellers.
Minister Fahey said, "There is now an opportunity to address some key underlying issues, including the whole area of Traveller/settled relationships. The establishment of this Committee builds on a number of new initiatives which the Government has introduced. During 2006 each City and County Development Board established a Traveller Interagency Group to improve local service delivery. My Department also established a new fund to help the City and County Groups support high quality local projects and develop best practices. The NTMAC provides an important structure at national level to keep the focus of all the social partners on their commitment in Towards 2016 to give concentrated attention to supporting Travellers."
The function of the NTMAC is complementary to the High Level Group on Traveller Issues, the Senior Officials Group which advises Government on the role of the state sector in providing services and supports for Travellers. The concept of a national consultative forum was approved by Government in March 2006 in the context of publication of the Report of the High Level Group. The NTMAC will provide a forum where the views of a wide cross section of stakeholders can be expressed. Minister Fahey commented that "International monitoring groups from the Council of Europe and the United Nations have stressed the importance of constructive dialogue and I share their concern that we would work together in a constructive manner. The advice and reports of this new Committee will, I believe, make an important contribution to helping the Government to determine future policy and strategy development."
5 April 2007
Note for Editors
Background on the National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee
Following the Report of the Task Force on the Travelling Community (1995) a committee to monitor implementation of its recommendations, the Traveller Monitoring Committee (TMC) was established by the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform. It comprised Government Departments, Traveller Organisations and other social partners. In December 2005, the TMC produced its Second and final Progress Report. There was a general view that it needed to be revitalised and made into a more dynamic and forward looking national forum. Further developments ensued with the inclusion in Towards 2016 of a commitment from all social partners to pursue enhanced progress on Traveller issues. Three of the principal national Traveller Organisations (National Traveller Women's Forum, Irish Traveller Movement and Pavee Point) are represented by the Community Platform which agreed to sign up to Towards 2016 late in 2006. The Community Platform had not signed up to previous national agreements.
Terms of Reference
- To serve as a forum for consultation on current issues of national importance affecting the Travelling Community.
- To identify issues of national importance to the Traveller Community which might not be dealt with adequately through existing mechanisms.
- To suggest appropriate responses to issues identified under 2 above, in cooperation with relevant state agencies and other stakeholders.
- To monitor developments in the position of Travellers in Irish Society generally and with particular reference to issues identified at 2 above.
- To report to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, every two years, identifying key issues of ongoing concern.