Traveller housing in Dublin

MORE than 350 traveller families refused to accept local authority accommodation because of feuds with other families, intimidation, or other personal reasons in 2008 and 2009.

Offers of housing were also declined because of fears the house was haunted, because facilities were not provided for horses or because the previous occupant had died in the house, it has emerged.

The report into barriers to providing housing to travelling families revealed that one-sixth of all housing offers were refused.

The survey of local authorities around the country found that 378 families declined the offer of a house out of 2,243 offers that had been made.

Fifty-two of the families who declined their accommodation said they had "issues with neighbours [or] other families in the scheme".

In another 43 cases, the house was not in the "area applied for" and for 42 families, the accommodation was "not their preferred type".

The unpublished report obtained by the Sunday Tribune reveals a further 22 families wanted "a house in the country" while 20 more complained that there was "no vehicular access to the rear" of the property.

Nineteen refusals came because of "intimidation from local residents [or] community" while 12 families declined an offer because the property was not new.

In four cases, the offer of a property was refused because there was "no facilities for horses" or because the "previous occupant died in [the] accommodation".

The report said: "The 'other reasons' given by the local authorities to explain the refusal of local authority accommodation included: the family changed their mind, accommodation [deemed] remote, too far from schools or town, they didn't like the area, [or] change in family circumstances.

"[Other reasons include] family believed house was haunted, siblings moved to another country, no logical reason, family bought their own land, design of house didn't suit, alleged maintenance issue, alleged anti-social behaviour on the estate, and back garden perceived to be too small."

Almost 100 of the families who refused offers of housing continued to live by the roadside or in unauthorised halting sites.

The survey of local authorities said acquiring suitable land and dealing with the objections of residents were the primary difficulties.

The report, which was prepared for the Department of the Environment, was never published.