Survey finds travellers in Galway living in 'rat-infested conditions'

Survey finds travellers in Galway living in 'rat-infested conditions'

A SURVEY of a traveller site in Galway finds conditions to be a violation of human rights.

The #TravellerHomesNow report, compiled by the Galway Traveller Movement, examines conditions at 18 Traveller sites and group housing schemes. It is written as a “response to over 18 years of prevarication, failed targets and tokenistic interaction” from local authorities, its authors say.

The findings, detailed in a report published on Friday, paint a picture of poverty and social exclusion for hundreds of Traveller adults and children across Galway city and county.

The study benchmarks Traveller accommodation against the standards set down by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The UN group says: “housing and accommodation is [sic] integrally linked to other human rights and is central to the fundamental underpinning of those rights” – ie to the “dignity of the human person”.

Some of the accommodation was found to have overflowing sewerage, rat and fly infestations and no facilities for children.

Many people live in sites without regular rubbish collections, where their landlords carry out little or no maintenance.

This is despite the fact Travellers pay rent for their homes.

Among the 10 sites in Galway city, overcrowding is found to be “particularly serious” at Cul Trá - which is in Salthill.

Swarms of flies and rodent infestation is ''alarming'' at the Carrowbrowne halting site on the Headford Road.

16 families, including and 39 children, live at one Carrowbrowne site where “pipes for sinks, showers, washing machines” are constantly blocked.

There is no playground or green space for children to roam or play, despite a large number living there.

A second, temporary site in Carrowbrowne is home to 13 families, with 36 children.

It is infested with rats and has plumbing and sewerage problems.

The report concludes both Galway City and Galway County Councils are breaching their Traveller tenants’ international human rights.