Council of Europe Finds Ireland Remains in Breach of Human Rights Obligations

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has noted with concern the Council of Europe findings that the State continues to be in breach of its human rights obligations under the Revised European Social Charter to provide appropriate accommodation to Travellers and to social housing tenants in Ireland.

The Revised European Social Charter is a binding human rights treaty that Ireland ratified in 2000.

In its latest report under its collective complaints* procedure the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) confirms that despite certain progress, the State’s violations have not been brought into conformity with the Charter. This report directly cites and references the Commission’s submissions to it in 2021.

As highlighted by the Committee, Ireland’s national legal framework for the right to housing for families remains insufficient, and local authority housing tenants continue to live in inadequate housing conditions.

The Committee further held that there is still a substantial shortfall in the provision of Traveller accommodation in Ireland, including access to housing and refurbishment. While the creation of the Expert Group was welcomed as a positive development, the Committee noted that the Group’s recommendations have not yet been fully implemented.

The State has repeatedly committed to providing culturally appropriate accommodation for Travellers but continually fails to do so. The Commission reiterates that housing is a public good and not a commodity.

The State has repeatedly committed to delivering high quality social housing. Today the Commission again calls on the Government to take strong and timely measures to address these continued failings on housing policy and uphold its obligations under human rights law.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said:

“The Council of Europe has set out clearly that the State is still failing to meet its obligations to provide people with decent and appropriate housing. This failure exposes people to deprivation, discrimination and a higher risk of homelessness. This is particularly acute in the area of Traveller accommodation.

“Our recent work providing assistance to Traveller families has exposed issues of Travellers living in alarming levels of deprivation and poverty. These include families living without access to water or electricity, in conditions ‘thick with rats’ with children in particular suffering from acute health issues.

“It is unacceptable that any human being should be forced to live in such conditions in Ireland in the 21st century. All families are equal in their need for a home where they can raise their children in health, safety and amongst their community.”


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

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Notes to editors:

Read the European Committee of Social Rights Findings 2021

*The European Committee of Social Rights monitors compliance with the Charter under two complementary mechanisms: through collective complaints lodged by the social partners and other non-governmental organisations (Collective Complaints Procedure), and through national reports drawn up by Contracting Parties (Reporting System).