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Siobhan Mc. Laughlin & Hugh Friel Donegal Travellers Project May 2015 The Interagency Experience in Donegal
The first five years 2006 - 2011 l l l l l TIGS established in 2006 with the aim of ensuring better coordination of services to the Traveller Community Resources available Senior level commitment within local authority Pre-existing commitment to community development as an effective tool for working on Traveller issues across a number of state agencies DTP had a track record of engaging with local government & local development structures (e. g. CDB & CCF) Group met regularly (every 2 months) Donegal County Council resourced facilitated planning sessions Relationship building events for TIG members Sub groups established to carry out collaborative actions
The first five years - workplan l Employment Initiative sub-group, Traveller Employment Worker employed by DTP l Peace Project sub-group: Building relationships through Youth projects, Women’s Groups, Arts events, Conflict Resolution & Mediation, Restorative Practice training l Jobs Placement Programmes : 10 members of the Traveller community working for up to a year in a number of state agencies; HSE, ETB, Hospital Services, Donegal County Council & DTP
The Next 4 years 2012 - 2015 l Resources no longer available l Senior level buy-in and commitment no longer present to the same degree l Poor attendance l Strained relationships due to challenges in the area of Traveller accommodation l Lack of clear role or function for committees at the local level
The Next 4 years 2012 – 2015 (cont. ) l Impact of racist incidents and lack response from agencies & TIG l No national framework to support the development of the TIGs l Limited support or commitment to the development and/or implementation of annual action plans l Gaps left by the impact of austerity measures l The increasing demands on the Traveller organisation delivering the work with the community
Recommendations - National level (1) l National Framework needs to be developed for TIG’s to include membership, frequency of meetings, operating guidelines, thematic areas of work l Irish Human Rights Framework – Council of Europe requires participation by citizens in the preparation & implementation of programmes l National budget for the work of TIG’s needs to be secured and protected l The NTP is concerned about the use of the term Regional Support Groups in the draft document
Recommendations - National level (2) l Dedicated Traveller seats on all LCDCs l Traveller & Roma to be included in LECPs l Thematic commitment to provisions of UN convention l TIG’s promoting a Human Rights based approach to Traveller and Roma issues l (DJE) Recognise and work to reverse the decisions which have had a disproportionately negative impact on the Traveller community: most acute in the areas of education, accommodation, anti-racism & interculturalism l New National Action Plan Against Racism
Recommendations : Local (1) l l l Commitment from all collaborators at the local level to nominate people with decision making capacity in their organisation Traveller organisation representation is crucial and must be a requirement for all interagency groups. The NTP needs to be resourced to continue to deliver a local community development programme in the 14 areas and not collapsed into TIG’s Maintain the independence and autonomy of local Traveller organisations Real and effective participation of the Traveller community in the decision-making processes
Recommendations : Local (2) l l Local implementation plans must be SMART & reflect a real commitment to the principles of care and equality All agencies must share on delivering on actions in the agreed plans Commitment to and recognition of a community development approach and its principles - this needs to be rolled out across the country The practice of community work in itself is not that of service provision and the role of Traveller organisations must go beyond service provision (Policy Development, Advocacy & Building the capacity of the community. )
Acknowledgement of Traveller ethnicity?
“We will promote policies which integrate minority ethnic groups in Ireland, and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of minority ethnic groups in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities. ” Programme for Government, 2011, p. 22.
l create the conditions for the status of Travellers to be elevated in the mind-set of all of the agencies who participate in inter agency groups. l improved cultural and community respect due to such a symbolically important gesture by the National government and in the context of interagency working l create the ground for new relationships of mutual respect with statutory agencies as partners in solving the real problems we face l remove the challenge for us, as Travellers and Traveller organisations, in building partnerships with state agencies who currently do not recognise our identity and our right to self determination
“Racism is far from eradicated. . . It’s a long, hard road. No magic wand, as far as I know. ” Noam Chomsky
Donegal Travellers Project Thank you!