UK Government Respond on Traveller Concerns

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE The United Kingdom Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP, has responded to concerns voiced by the Celtic League about discrimination against members of the Irish Traveller Community (see link): https://www.celticleague.net/news/travellers-pickles-urged-not-to-heed-pressure-for-more-discrimination/ In his letter he asserts that ‘the UK has a strong legal framework that protects all people, including Irish Travellers, from discrimination’. He goes on to outline recent steps taken to ensure that powers to ‘deal with’ unauthorised encampments and developments and says he wrote jointly with the Minister of State for Policing and Crime Commissioners reminding Police Chiefs of their role when it comes to unauthorised sites. He concludes by saying that via its ‘Planning Policy for Traveller Sites’ the government expects councils ‘to identify a five year supply of suitable sites for travellers to meet objectively assessed local need’, adding ‘Councils receive a New Housing Bonus for each new traveller pitch built in their area’. Whilst the Celtic League welcomes the response from Minister Lewis we cannot help thinking that the position of and attitudes towards the Traveller community have not improved markedly since we first highlighted their plight in detail when we published the pamphlet, ‘Human Rights on the Celtic Fringe’ twenty-five years ago. In parallel with the issue being raised with the UK government we also flagged this issue up with the EU Commissioner with responsibilities in this area. A response is still awaited (see link): https://www.celticleague.net/news/eu-commissioner-urged-to-press-uk-over-traveller-discrimination/ J B Moffatt (Mr) Director of Information Celtic League 23/04/15 (Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.) ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE. The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues Internet site at: https://celticleague.net https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

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