Irish Travellers have been documented as being part of Irish society for centuries.  Travellers have a long shared history, traditions, language, culture and customs.  The distinctive Traveller identity and culture, based on a nomadic tradition, sets Travellers apart from the sedentary population or ‘settled people’.

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“If they don’t recognise us as an ethnic minority then they can assume that we are failed settled people who with the right supports could fit in. This is assimilation, a failed government policy. It failed to address Traveller issues as it failed to tackle discrimination. It failed to acknowledge and validate our culture. This is racism in action and it must be properly addressed.” – Martin Collins, Co Director Pavee Point.

According to the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (2010), there are 36, 224 Travellers in the Republic of Ireland, with a further 3,905 in Northern Ireland.  Irish Travellers are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in Irish society, facing an 84% unemployment rate.  According to the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (2010), over 2,700 Travellers do not have access to running water.  The Traveller suicide rate is six times the national average for men and women. In considering men alone, the suicide rate is seven times the national average.

Traveller Ethnicity – Why it is so important.

You can read more about Education, Accommodation and Culture in our factsheet series. 

Also check out our Resources section.