The Irish Traveller Movement (ITM) Law Centre, representing five Traveller women, has been successful in its appeal to the Circuit Court in a discrimination case. The Defendants - the Osprey Hotel, Naas, County Kildare - refused service on two separate occasions to the Traveller women. The first incident involved the refusal of entry to the hotel's nightclub and the second involved a refusal of service in the hotel's restaurant.
Judge McDonnell in the Circuit Court overturned the two District Court rulings in finding that discrimination was proven, and awarded the women compensation as well as the costs of the District Court hearing and the appeal.
The ITM Law Centre, assisted by the Bar Council's Voluntary Assistance Scheme, welcomed the decision outlining that it "may renew confidence for others Travellers who experience discrimination by services and who have no choice but pursue such cases before the Courts."
It is worth noting that this type of case previously fell within the jurisdiction of the Equality Tribunal yet now falls within the District Court's remit. This has serious repercussions for plaintiffs' ability to access justice in such matters, given the costs implications.
Please click here to view the ITM Law Centre press release.
Date: Thursday 20 February 2014
Time: 11 am – 1 pm
Venue: Pavee Point Roma and Traveller Centre
Aim: The forum is a space for people working with Roma to come together to discuss ideas for addressing human rights issues facing Roma and to overcome challenges in this work.
The forum will:
Roma, Traveller organisations, statutory representatives, NGO representatives – anyone working with Roma
If you are interested in participating in this forum please rsvp to Siobhan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Monday 25th November, 2:30-4:30pm (there is a Housing Strategic Policy Committee Meeting at 4pm).
Location: Outside Fingal County Council Offices, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
Travellers and organisations from all over the country will be coming together in solidarity to highlight the injustices that Travellers face in Ireland. Local authorities and the Irish government have failed to deliver accommodation for many Traveller families over the past 15 years, and now is the time to protest around the lack of investment in Traveller-specific accommodation and the impact this is having on Traveller families and especially on Traveller children.
On this protest we will highlight the plight of the Mc Donnell families on Dunsink Lane. These are 14 families living in an unofficial halting site in Dunsink Lane for the past 15years. Their site lack basic services such as hot water, electricity and flushing toilets, bin collection, no postal service or suitable play area for children and they have been affected by flooding several times. The Local Authority in Fingal Co Council has failed to provide accommodation for this family despite commitments made for the past 15 years.
Local organisations are being asked to please mobilise as many staff and people from the community for this day of protest. It is vital that we show a strong, collective movement that stands in solidarity with the many Traveller families being denied their basic legal right to culturally appropriate accommodation.
In the recent judgment of Delaney & Ors v. Galway City Council  IEHC 302, judicial review proceedings were taken against Galway City Council, alleging breach of the Council's statutory duty of provisions under the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, when adopting the Traveller Accommodation Programme (TAP) 2009-2013. The action arose as a result of a meeting of the applicants and the respondents on 9 February 2009.
The purpose of the act is to "amend and extend the housing acts...to make provision for the accommodation needs of travellers." It expressly provides that "in preparing a TAP, the relevant housing authority must also have regard to the needs identified, the distinct needs and family circumstances of travellers and the provision of sites to address the accommodation needs of travellers other than as their normal residence, but taking into account their annual patterns of movement."
The Council prepared the TAP 2009 - 2013. Significantly, it identified the need for two halting sites within the city as a necessary accommodation need for travellers. The draft TAP was placed before the Councillors for adoption on 9 February, 2009. However, a joint motion passed at this meeting did not include implementation measures. The Applicants challenged it on this basis.
Mc Mahon J. found that the joint motion passed at the meeting did not have the effect of emasculating the TAP and that the TAP contained sufficient recognition of the identified needs. In addition to this he found that since February 2009, the Executive had taken appropriate steps to achieve the objectives in the programme for the provision of two halting sites. Submissions on reliefs will be made at a later date.
In a case taken by the Irish Traveller Movement Law Centre, the Equality Tribunal has found a school's admission policy indirectly discriminatory against Travellers and has ordered the school to offer a place to the Complainant.
The school prioritised applicants where they: had a brother who had attended the school; were the child of a past pupil; or had close family ties with the school. The Complainant argued that this priorisation disproportionately affected members of the Traveller community and amounted to indirect discrimination. He argued that as a member of the Traveller community, his father was statistically much less likely to have attended second level education.
The Equality Tribunal reviewed the evidence and noted that Travellers of the Complainant's father's generation were most unlikely to have attended post-primary school. Having weighed up the statistics, they concluded that the policy of giving priority to sons of former pupils put the Complainant at a particular disadvantage. They proceeded to find that this blanket priority was not necessary to pursue the stated aim of fostering family loyalty to the school and was disproportionate.
The Tribunal ordered that the High School immediately offer a school place to the Complainant and that it review its admission policy.
As reported previously in the Bulletin, in Stokes (on behalf of her son John Stokes) v Christian Brothers' High School, Clonmel and The Department of Education and Skills, the Equality Tribunal found that the policy of giving priority to children of past pupils put the complainant Traveller at a particular disadvantage compared to non-travellers, amounting to indirect discrimination under equality legislation.
The school's legal advisors have confirmed that the School has lodged an appeal in the Circuit Court. They also confirmed that John Stokes has not been offered a place in the school to date. The interested party, the Department of Education and Skills, are not appealing.
Please click here to view the Irish Examiner article.
Please click here to view the ITM Law Centre press release on this case.