Photos by Derek Speirs.

On Wednesday 20th December we held our Christmas party for Roma children.  About 100 children and their parents came and made it a real family occasion.   Thanks to everyone who donated presents to make this such a happy occasion and a special thanks to Hamleys Toyshop, Dundrum and also for toys from Mr. Price.

Gabi Muntean of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre said: “This party is a way to give something to families in my community who struggle to survive. I know of many families who do not always have food, heating or even electricity. Our Christmas party is a small way in which we can show solidarity with these families.”

There are Roma children living in unacceptable conditions in Ireland. This has been raised as an issue by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which has expressed specific concern with the poverty faced by Roma in Ireland.

“We have done research on the situation of Roma in Ireland and it found that Roma children are living in overcrowded houses with rats, damp and sewerage. Some people said they did not have basic supplies for newborn babies and that children are going to school hungry and without lunch,” added Ms. Muntean.

“The situation of Roma children can be improved if resources are allocated specifically to support families. We also call on the Government to provide access to child benefit for Roma parents. These are both recommendations that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child made to Ireland in 2015.”

Background:

It is estimated that there are up to 5,000 Roma currently living in Ireland, with most coming from Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Roma are residents and citizens of countries all across Europe, including Hungary, Bulgaria, France, the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain. Roma in Ireland are generally EU citizens. Many Roma are now Irish citizens and there are now many second and third generation Roma who have been born in Ireland.

This research “Roma in Ireland – A National Needs Assessment” was undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Justice and Equality, on foot of recommendation 4.2.3 of the Logan Report and will be launched on 18 January 2018.