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Travelling People

Volume 127: debated on Friday 12 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans exist to establish further serviced legal sites for travelling people in Northern Ireland; where it is intended that these should be located; what services will be provided; and how many families will be accommodated at each site.

Current plans provide for additional serviced sites to Great Britain gipsy site design guide standards for 98 families distributed over three council areas; namely, Belfast city council 72, Derry city council 12 and Strabane city council 14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Government have taken to prevent harassment of travelling people in Northern Ireland.

Travelling people are entitled to the same protection as other Northern Ireland citizens. The Advisory Committee on Travellers is particularly vigilant in respect of conflicts between the travelling people and local communities and seeks to resolve such conflicts as speedly and amicably as possible.

Education and Library Board£
1980–811981–821982–831983–841984–851985–8611986–8721987–88
Belfast16,76526,94150,34448,63145,39235,31830,08435,000
North-Eastern32,26254,64673,51774,02774,38252,27040,41638,000
South-Eastern21,78230,53136,66137,07543,52238,88730,92232,000
Southern71,573104,014172,745174,114180,459113,04887,29882,000
Western94,419162,758180,562189,991174,558124,467127,681101,000
1 Unaudited figures.
2 Estimated figures taken from 1987–88 revised recurrent schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what environmental health monitoring is undertaken at legal and other sites occupied by travelling people in Northern Ireland.

Environmental health officers of district councils in Northern Ireland visit legal and other sites occupied by travelling people to monitor living conditions and general environmental and sanitary standards. Close liaison is maintained with doctors, health visitors and social workers who also visit the sites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision has been made in the Belfast urban area plan for site provision for travelling people; and what plans exist for serviced site provision in the Belfast area.

Belfast city council plans to develop fully serviced sites for the 72 travelling families resident in its area. It has currently planning permission for one site and has made applications for planning permission to develop five other sites. A further location is under active investigation by the council. The Belfast urban area plan deals with strategic development issues and is not an appropriate basis for dealing with the needs of travelling people.The council was represented on the 1984 Department of Environment working party on travelling people. The working party produced recommendations which are the basis of current Department of the Environment policies for travelling people. The council has three representatives on the Advisory Committee on Travellers which advises the Minister on the implementation of travellers policy and takes an active role in promoting that policy.