Greens welcome recommendations on Traveller Ethnicity

4th February 2017

Government must act on report to transform outcomes for the Traveller Community


The Green Party today welcomed the recommendation of the Justice and Equality Committee to give State recognition to the Traveller Community as a distinct ethnic minority. The Party says that Government should act now to give formal recognition of the committee’s recommendation and to put in place a Strategy to transform health, education and employment prospects for Travellers.

Speaking following the publishing of today’s report, Cllr Malcolm Noonan, Green Party Spokesperson for Community Development said that today was a historic day for Travellers in Ireland.

“We welcome the findings of the report and the fact that the committee chairman said that the Taoiseach should make a statement to the Dail in a matter of weeks rather than months.

“He said that discrimination of Travellers coupled with poor outcomes in health and education and low employment opportunities have over decades compounded a multiplicity of problems that are unjust in a civilised society. He said that recognition of their ethnic minority status would give due recognition to their distinct culture and language and that it was a culture that should be celebrated and protected.

“Recognition of ethnicity is an important first step in changing our attitudes towards Travellers. It would be useful now if we began having a reasoned National conversation on how we might address the inequalities that exist and the conflict that so very often defines relationships between ‘settled’ people and Travellers. Only then can we move forward towards a truly inclusive Ireland.”

Green Party Spokesperson for Justice, Cllr Roderic O’Gorman, said: “The case for the recognition of Traveller ethnicity is growing stronger. In October 2015, I was a co-sponsor of a motion calling for the recognition of Traveller ethnicity on Fingal County Council, which was passed with cross-party support. This report gives the Government the basis on which to act swiftly.”