Travellers Will Be Worst Affected by Cuts, says Barnados

Travellers will be disproportionately affected by the budget cuts, according to an analysis by Barnardos.

The Irish Examiner reports that Barnados has estimated that a family of two adults with three children could be down €27.40 per week compared to 2010,

The figure is based on cuts to a range of applicable social welfare payments, including Qualified Child Benefit, Jobseeker’s Benefit and the Back-to-School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.

According to the budget analysis: "These families have already had to endure cutbacks to their meagre family income and now the cuts to social welfare payments planned for 2011, coupled with reduction in the minimum wage and the broadening of the catchment for the universal social charge will place Traveller families under increasing financial pressure."

It also points out that throughout 2010, a number of Traveller pre-school services were closed, while further education cuts will also adversely affect Traveller children.

The withdrawal of resource teachers for Travellers at primary level means that educational teaching supports to Traveller students will now be provided on the same basis as other students in schools. Alleviation measures will be put in place for schools with a high concentration of Traveller children. At post-primary level, teaching hours for Travellers will be withdrawn.

Barnardos also said the withdrawal from September 2011 of 42 visiting teachers for Travellers, currently assigned to the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB), was also a poor decision, claiming: "The cuts to Traveller-specific services is a short-sighted saving that will cement intergenerational cycles of disadvantage in the Traveller community."

It also said there is "gross over-representation of Travellers in forensic psychiatric admissions".

However, access to health services was further hindered in 2010 because of the introduction of the 50c prescription charge; delays in children having their developmental checks; lengthy waiting lists for children to be seen by consultants and subsequent delays in receiving treatment.

(Source: The Irish Examiner)