European Court of Human Rights Finds in Favour of the State in Traveller Accommodation and Fair Trial Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has acknowledged the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in the case of Faulkner and McDonagh v. Ireland, where the rights of members of the Traveller community to accommodation and a fair trial were under scrutiny.

The Commission made detailed legal submissions to the Court in this case, which marked our first such third-party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights.

The ECHR ruling was made under Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life), while detailed consideration by the Court was not provided under Article 6 (Right to fair trial) of the Convention, which the Commission’s legal submissions also focused on.

Separately, in a significant ruling on the Traveller accommodation obligations of Local Authorities in January 2022, the Supreme Court overturned a decision to grant Clare County Council orders requiring members of the Traveller Community to vacate lands where they had been residing. In its legal role as amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in that case the Commission argued that Clare County Council failed in its statutory obligations to properly and proportionately assess the rights of a Traveller family before invoking planning laws to evict them from a site in the county.

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

“We will study in detail this ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, including any further questions it may raise in relation to access to legal aid.

“The State is failing to provide an adequate volume of accommodation for Travellers, with Traveller families continuing to live in conditions which are unsanitary, unsafe and lack the most basic services.

“We will continue to use our powers to ensure that the State addresses the structural shortcomings in the identification of the housing needs of Travellers and to ensure greater accountability in the use of the Traveller accommodation funds.”


For further information, please contact:

Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8592641 / 087 4687760

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Editor’s Note

The full legal submissions made by the Commission to the European Court of Human Rights are published on the Commission’s website at:

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.