Council launches Traveller Interagency Strategy

Released: 28 September 2007

A new policy document aimed at improving the quality of life of the Traveller community in Kerry, was launched in Tralee Library on Monday, October 1 by Kerry County Manager, Tom Curran.

The Kerry Interagency Traveller Strategy 2007-2010 aims to focus the energies of the organisations and agencies working with the Traveller community in Kerry, with a view to improving the quality and effectiveness of the services being provided.

It also marks one of the first times that the Traveller community themselves have been so heavily involved in the development of the strategy.

“Work on preparing the Strategy began around 12 months ago, when all the agencies who work with the Traveller community in Kerry were surveyed for their ideas and opinions,” Colleen Hennessy, Social Inclusion Measures Policy Worker, explained.

Kerry Local Authorities, under the Community & Enterprise section, took a lead role in bringing the strategy to fruition, with RAPID coordinator Anne O’Dwyer chairing the group tasked with drawing up the Strategy.

“From the beginning, members of the Traveller community became involved, giving their opinions on their needs, and areas where shortcomings were apparent,” Colleen explained.

Divided into five key areas, Health, Employment, Education, Accommodation and Equality, the three year plan sets out specific targets, expected goals, and identifies the areas where agencies will be working to help deliver these goals.

“This Strategy represents a real change in the provision of services to Travellers in the county because Travellers themselves identified their own community needs and were involved in the development and planning of the Strategy along with state agencies and service providers,” Brigid O’Donoghue, Community Development worker with the Kerry Traveller Development Project explained.

“We will also be involved in ongoing monitoring of the Strategy to ensure that the goals identified are being progressed according to the agreed timescale.”

According to John Breen, Director of Community & Enterprise, the Strategy itself may not have identified many new issues, but is a vital document. “The real point of the exercise is that it has forced service providers to think about the effectiveness and success of their service within the target group.”

Kerry County Council, Co. Buildings, Rathass, Tralee

Phone: (066) 718 3500     Email: info@kerrycoco.ie

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