National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy
Pavee Point have campaigned for a revised progressive and inclusive National Traveller Roma Integration Strategy since 2012 when Ireland’s first strategy was developed. A strategy should incorporate the recommendations of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020; and the 10 Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion. This should include:
- achievable national goals with targets for Traveller and Roma inclusion. These goals should address, as a minimum, the four EU Roma integration goals relating to access to education, employment, healthcare and housing;
- actions to explicitly address racism towards Roma and Travellers and include measures to address gender inequality; and
- clear objectives, actions, impact indicators, time frames, clear lines of responsibility, funding mechanisms and strong inclusive monitoring and evaluation methods.
The Department of Justice and Equality set up a steering group for a National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy in 2015 which is chaired by Minister Ó Ríordáin. This body is responsible for revising the National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy. This consists of departmental representatives and Traveller and Roma civil society representatives. This is the first national policy forum with Roma representation. Pavee Point are represented on this group and are working to revise the National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy.
National Needs Assessment of Roma
Pavee Point is very excited to be embarking on the first Government commissioned national needs assessment of Roma in Ireland. The assessment will provide a better understanding of the experiences of the Roma community in accessing public services in Ireland.
Aims of the research
- The Assessment will provide a socio-economic analysis of the situation of Roma in Ireland, using a thematic approach (education, health, housing, employment, domestic violence, child welfare, legal status and community safety) and will make recommendations across Government departments and in relation to service provision for Roma.
- It is envisaged that a demographic profile will be provided of Roma in Ireland – including country of origin, family composition, age structure, regional and local areas where Roma live.
- The final report will be used to feed into Government strategies.
- Review of literature relating to Roma in Ireland and internationally;
- Quantitative analysis of service provision for Roma communities;
- Collection of qualitative data through interviews and focus groups with over 150 Roma families;
- Consultations with other experts in the field;
In July 2014, the Report of the Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the removal of two Roma children from their families was published (the ‘Logan Report’). The report recommended that an assessment of need would be undertaken. Following this recommendation the national needs assessment of Roma was commissioned by the Department of Justice and Equality.
This research has been commissioned by the Department of Justice and Equality (DJE). DJE and Pavee Point are working collaboratively to steer the research. Pavee Point is managing the research process and a researcher and peer researchers have been contracted to undertake this research. A Research Advisory Group consisting of representatives from Departments, statutory and civil society organisations, is also acting in an advisory capacity to the research.
Applications are currently being sought (15/6/15) from suitably qualified professionals to provide an expression of interest for research with Roma in Ireland. The researcher will undertake a national needs assessment of Roma in Ireland, conducting both qualitative and quantitative research.
Many Roma in Ireland are living in poverty due to a lack of access to work and restrictive social welfare measures. Many Roma find it difficult to gain employment due to factors including racism, discrimination and lack of training and formal education. For those who are unable to find employment or access supports, options include reliance on charities and family or ‘voluntary repatriation’ to country of origin.
Lack of access to social protection can be due to the application of the right to reside or the habitual residence condition. The impact of this is Roma families living in Ireland in extremely poor and sometimes dangerous living conditions without access to food and basic necessities. In particular, the lack of access to child benefit, means that many children are living in poverty as their parent’s struggle to provide for them.
- Provide a humanitarian response and ensure that Roma are not living without basic food and shelter in Ireland.
- Invest in and conduct a review and impact assessment of the habitual residence condition, in particular in relation to ethnicity and gender.
- Ensure that women experiencing violence are not subject to the habitual residence condition
- Remove child benefit from habitual residence condition requirements.
- Provide human resources to support people in making their applications, in particular the availability of suitable translators.
- Collect and make public disaggregated data of applications, refusals, appeals and appeal outcomes in relation to the habitual residence condition.
See more information on EU rules for freedom of movement.
There is a significant gap in the availability of reliable and comprehensive data in relation to the social and economic situation of Roma communities in Ireland. Currently, ethnicity is not included as an administrative category in official data collection systems. This results in serious gaps in knowledge about the situation and needs of Roma and absence of evidence based policies and practices to ensure the needs of minority ethnic communities are met.
Read more information on data collection here.
For more information see our set of reports on Roma rights: