Senator Frances Black, Jim O  Callaghan  TD, Senator Martin Conway and Committee Chairperson Caoimhghín O Caoláin at report launch.

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality today (26th January 2017) recommended the State formally acknowledge Traveller ethnicity at the earliest date possible in 2017.

 The Committee, comprised of 11 TDs and Senators from a range of parties and including Independents, urged the Taoiseach to make a statement to Dáil Eireann acknowledging that Irish Travellers  are, de facto, a separate ethnic group.  “This is not a gift to be bestowed…but a fact the State ought to formally acknowledge,” the report states.

The Committee heard from  representatives of  the four national Traveller organisations – Maria Joyce of the National Traveller Women’s Forum; Martin Collins and Ronnie Fay of Pavee Point; Bernard Joyce and Jacinta Brack of the Irish Traveller Movement;  Thonas McCann of Minceirs Whiden;  Emily Logan and David Joyce of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission;  Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Dr. Robbie McVeigh.

Screenshot (58)

The Committee also recommends that Government, once it has formally acknowledged Traveller ethnicity, should then conduct a review, in consultation with Traveller representative groups of any legislation or policy changes needed.

Committee Chairperson, Caoimhín O Caoláin and Martin Collins, Pavee  Point

Committee Chairperson, Caoimhín O Caoláin and Martin Collins, Pavee Point

Barney Joyce, Director Irish Traveller Movement.

Barney Joyce, Director Irish Traveller Movement.

IMG_1884

Committee Chairperson Caoimhghín O Caoláin with Thomas McCann, Minceirs Whiden

Committee Chairperson Caoimhghín O Caoláin with Thomas McCann, Minceirs Whiden

IMG_1866

Committee Chairperson CaoimhIn O  Caoláin with Maria Joyce, NTWF

Committee Chairperson CaoimhIn O Caoláin with Maria Joyce, NTWF