Travellers slam city councillor over housing ‘slur’

Cllr Declan McDonnell

Galway City Tribune – Members of the Traveller community in Galway have called for Councillor Declan McDonnell to resign as Chairperson of the Galway City Council Housing Strategic Policy Committee.

They claim he has shown a bias against the Traveller Community in regards to their accommodation needs and the ‘existing inequality’ experienced by them.

Last week, Cllr  McDonnell in the Galway City Tribune said that Travellers accounted for more than 80% of those registered as homeless in Co Galway and 50% of the homeless in the city, yet represented just 1.5% of the population of the county and 2.2% of the city.

He said it didn’t make sense that they made up the majority of those classified as homeless and that the figures were distorted as a result.

Now, angry representatives of the Traveller community say he needs to be held to account for promoting anti-Traveller sentiments and for trying to apportion blame to the Traveller community for the growing homeless numbers in Galway City and County.

In a statement this week, they allege he also showed disrespect to the Traveller community by talking about quotas for numbers of people living in estates.

“No other community in Galway city would be singled out in such a fashion. This approach by the Councillor will cause further division within communities and does nothing more than pit one group living in difficult circumstances against another.

“The high numbers of Traveller families registered as homeless is evidence of a systems failure within the local authority and years of neglect in recognising the cultural needs of this community.

“Cllr McDonnell forgot to mention that Galway City Council have failed to meet their own targets with regards to providing culturally appropriate accommodation over the past 15 years under the Traveller Accommodation Programme.”
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