Case Number: DEC-S2012-006- Full Case Report. Equality Tribunal

CourtEquality Tribunal
Date20 February 2012
Docket NumberDEC-S2012-006- Full Case Report
The Equality Tribunal
Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011

Decision Number


A Complainant
(with the assistance of Pavee Point)


Dublin City Council

Case refs: ES/2011/0015 to 0017 Issued: 20 February 2012

Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 - Discrimination - Disposal of Premises and provision of Accommodation Traveller Community ground - Prima Facie case

1. Delegation under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2008

1.1. Three local authority residents referred claims to the Director of the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Acts on 26 January 2011. The respondent was notified of these complaints in accordance with the Acts on 11 November 2010. The complainants received no reply. In accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and section 25 of the Equal Status Acts, the Director then delegated the case to me, Tara Coogan, an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under part III of the Equal Status Acts on 17 November 2011. An oral hearing, as part of the investigation was held in Dublin on 24 January 2012. The complaints by the first and second complainants were withdrawn at the hearing as it became apparent that they were not official tenants of the local authority. The investigation thus proceeded in relation to complaint ES/2011/0017 only. It was agreed to keep the identity of the complainant anonymous.

2. Dispute

2.1. The dispute concerns a complaint of unlawful discrimination on the Traveller status ground. The complainant submitted that Dublin City Council (hereafter "the respondent") discriminated and continues to discriminate against her by providing a centralised housing support service to residents living in Traveller specific housing. The complainant maintained that the service that she receives is inferior to that received by persons residing in standard local authority housing. In any case, it was submitted, the provision of a segregated service is discriminatory.

3. Case for the complainant

3.1. The complainant is a Traveller who has lived in a Traveller specific site since 2004. She submitted that she wishes to avail of the respondent's service in her local area. Maintenance is currently contracted out by the respondent to a private maintenance company. However, the administration of rent payments and maintenance requests is done by the Traveller Unit in the respondent head office or on site through the caretaker service.

The complainant submitted that should she require repairs or maintenance in her home she must contact the respondent Traveller unit in the city centre. She is unable to avail of the localised service in the manner that her neighbours who live in standard local authority housing. She submitted that in order to avail of the service she has to travel past the local community centre to reach the Traveller unit in the Dublin City Council.

3.3. The complainant objected to the respondent's submission concerning the difficulties of providing services in halting sites due to the anti-social behaviour of some residents. It was submitted that in standard local authority housing problem tenants are deal with individually while in Traveller specific housing all families are tarnished with the same brush.

3.4. The complainant relied on Reilly v HSE DEC-S2007-059. This decision found that the refusal to pay Supplementary Social Welfare Allowance to Travellers from local centres was discriminatory.

4. Case for the respondent

4.1. The respondent is the largest local authority in Ireland. It provides a number of services to the area including housing, waste and water management, culture, business and community services. The respondent works to meet the accommodation needs of the Traveller Community as well as other issues, such as community development. Since 1968, Traveller specific accommodation has available and the respondent currently manages five Traveller specific sites in the local authority area.

The respondent rejected the complainant's claim and submitted that the service provided to the Traveller community is superior to that available for persons...

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