Site Loader

Travellers are a very distinct group within Irish society. They are an identifiable group of people, identified both by themselves and by other members of the community, as people with their own distinctive lifestyle, traditionally of a nomadic nature but not now habitual wanderers. They have their own cultural needs, wants, and values which are different in some ways from those of the settled community. They are an indigenous minority, less than one percent of the Irish population, who have been part of Irish society for centuries.
Travellers are widely acknowledged as one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in Irish society. They fare poorly on every indicator used to measure disadvantage i.e. unemployment, poverty, social exclusion, health status, infant mortality, life expectancy, illiteracy, education and training levels, access to decision making and political representation, gender equality, access to credit, accommodation and living conditions.
Travellers have long faced and continue to face intense racism and discrimination. It comes in the form of verbal abuse, racist language and sometimes violent attacks but even more importantly it is embedded in the daily practice of the institutions of the state. Travellers are often segregated into separate classes in school. They are routinely refused service in shops, bars, cafes, cinemas, laundrettes and clubs. Social contact with settled people is minimal because Travellers have been denied such contact.
Ironically, settled society has always considered Travellers to be different. Now that Travellers are asserting their right to be different but not inferior, they have provoked outrage. Travellers’ struggles for civil rights should be seen in the context of all the major social and political movements of the past fifty years and not as something separate or peculiar to Ireland or Irish Travellers. Their struggles bear remarkable resemblance to those of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples throughout the world.

Post Author: admin