Minister O’Brien urges Government Colleagues to prioritise measures to help address Traveller disadvantage

 Joe O’Brien, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development & Department of Social Protection, has written to every government Minister asking each to place particular emphasis on the disadvantaged situation of Travellers when putting forward their proposed measures under the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) and the measures to be funded for each Department in the DAF 2022 Action Plan to be published later this year.

The DAF, which is under the remit of Minister O’Brien, can be used to fund measures that address economic, social or educational disadvantage; or support persons with a disability. Each Government Department is given the opportunity to identify measures it would like to see funded under the DAF action Plan.

In the letter sent by Minister O’Brien to each Minister he noted:

“The ongoing and seriously disadvantaged situation of Travellers requires new approaches and the Dormant Accounts Fund is well suited to initiating and developing innovative ways of addressing such challenges. I would encourage you and your officials to keep this in mind when putting forward proposed measures for the next Action Plan.”

He further informed Ministers that in recent years the level of approval and drawdown from the fund has improved greatly and it is expected that roughly €50 million in funding would be utilised in 2021 and it is likely that the 2022 Action Plan will approve a similar amount.

Minister O’Brien has been particularly vocal on the need to address disadvantage and systemic discrimination against members of the travelling community and this latest initiative is one of a number of measures that both Departments within which he has a remit; the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Social Protection, are exploring in order to try to address some of the issues faced by the travelling community.

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