TRAVELLER accommodation budgets have been slashed by 85pc by the Government in just five years.
The revelation came as Traveller rights groups claimed their community was now the focus of spiralling levels of homelessness and political apathy.
Traveller Visibility and the Irish Traveller Movement claimed that many local authorities were simply not fighting for funding for Traveller accommodation.
The Irish Independent has obtained Department of the Environment figures which reveal that budgets for Traveller accommodation have been decimated since 2007/2008.
In 2007, Irish local authorities were granted €39m for various Traveller accommodation schemes. However, in 2012 that total had plummeted to €5.67m – a drop of almost 85pc.
Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan said: "The March 2011 housing needs assessment showed a clear preference among Travellers for standard housing, which is funded separately from Traveller-specific accommodation."
She stressed that studies had shown that of 1,824 Traveller families on accommodation waiting lists, 1,789 had indicated a preference for ordinary local authority housing.
Traveller lobby groups said that the issue was exacerbated by the refusal of many private landlords to countenance Traveller tenants.