10 deaths in fire on halting site for Travellers in South Dublin - more victims of housing crisis


Yesterday saw the tragic deaths of ten people that were killed in a fire that engulfed their home in a halting site for travellers in South Dublin. The people killed in the fire includes five children under the age of ten, and one of the children was six months old. The fire brigade was called at around 4am. The fire brigade took two adults and two children from the scene who are being treated in hospital. It is believed there were two families living in the halting site.

Pavee Point have issued a statement sending their condolence and sympathy to the families. They also said in their statement:
“Pavee Point is concerned that many Traveller families throughout Ireland are being forced to live in overcrowded and dangerous situations due to the impact of the housing crisis. Travellers are often the hidden victims of the housing crisis.

“The difficulties in accessing the private rented sector are exacerbated for many Travellers who continue to experience widespread discrimination and find it nigh on impossible to rent from private landlords. This is in addition to the cuts made by the government to Traveller accommodation under the guise of Austerity measures with the budget reduced from €40m in 2008 to €4m in 2013.”

This tragedy has happened at a time when many travelers are being forced to live in over crowed, substandard and dangerous conditions throughout the country. Last year Dublin City Council said they would provide 118 units of accommodation for Travellers, but yet so far DCC has only allocated just one unit. They failed to provide the rest of the 117 units. The state bureaucracy has shown time and again their utter lack of compassion for the people they are meant to represent

The accommodation Travellers have to live in are in utterly horrific conditions, their accommodation plays a major role in Travellers having health problems.
Here are a few of the health problems Travellers suffer from:
- Life expectancy at birth for male Travellers is 15.1% years less than the general population.
- Life expectancy at birth for female Travellers is now 70.1% which is 11.5 years less than women in the general population.
p Traveller infant mortality is estimate at 14.1 per 1,000 live births (compared with the general population rate of 3.9).
- Travellers have a greater burden of chronic diseases than the general population.
- Suicide rates are nearly 7 times higher in Traveller men compared with the general male population.
- Suicide accounts for 11% of all Traveller deaths.

Minister of Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly needs to secure an immediate increase of funding for Traveller accommodation now to prevent future tragedies and loses of life.