Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre welcomes new research by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) which offers stark and shocking confirmation of the inequalities faced by Irish Travellers in accommodation, health, employment and education.

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The survey which took place from December 2018 and July 2019 was carried out in 6 countries – Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and for the first time, Ireland.  Peer researchers undertook the research ensuring a participative approach and accurate information.  The survey shows:  

  • Ireland has the second highest levels of discrimination against Travellers at 65%   – well above the average 45% (page 27)
  • Significant life expectancy gap of 10 years between Travellers and the general population with a bigger gap for Traveller men than Traveller women (page 63)
  • The second highest rate of early childhood education (75%) among Irish Travellers but a 70% rate of early school leaving, compared to 5% for the general population(page 47)
  • Ireland has the lowest percentage of Travellers in employment at 15% compared to the highest at 55% for Travellers in the Netherlands (page 53)
  • More than 90% of Travellers in Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands consider there are not enough places – especially appropriate halting sites – in the country for them (page 79)

Full Report HERE

“The results confirm much of what is already known about the serious levels of inequality, discrimination and exclusion experienced by Irish Travellers” said Martin Collins, Co Director, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre citing the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (2010), “Who experiences discrimination in Ireland? Evidence from the QNHS Equality Modules” IHREC/ESRI 2017 and ‘Discrimination and Inequality in Housing in Ireland’ IHREC/ESRI 2018.

“In this research Irish Travellers fair badly on all equality indicators and especially in the crucial areas of health, education, accommodation and employment.”

“However, the significance of an EU Agency producing further evidence of such stark facts is important in highlighting the need for stronger protection of human rights and equality for Travellers and Roma in the EU and for Travellers in Ireland.”

New Framework for Traveller and Roma Inclusion

“This report is timely, coming as it does when a new framework for Traveller and Roma inclusion is being finalised by the EU. This presents a unique opportunity to ensure that the forthcoming EU national inclusion strategies, and especially the Irish National Traveller & Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS), will be reinforced with sufficient coherence, teeth and drive to implement real change.  

 “The EU must prioritise Travellers and Roma when looking at social inclusion and bring forward measurable targets.

Whole of Government Approach Needed

“Here in Ireland we need a whole of government approach in ensuring equality for Travellers and Roma and tackling the issues of racism and discrimination,” said Mr. Collins, “We need action plans with clear targets, indicators, outcomes,  timeframes and budget lines.  These are what show the political will is there to make our society inclusive.   

“We have seen through the COVID-19 crisis that much can be achieved when it’s needed.  New ways must be found to bring about real change – and the mid-term evaluation of NTRIS offers a good opportunity to do this as we don’t want to lose another generation of Travellers to suicide, ill-health and lack of opportunity.”

General findings in the survey:

  • Every second Roma and Traveller aged 16-28 surveyed was not in employment, education or training (page 47)
  • Twenty seven per cent of Travellers in Ireland experience bullying/harassment in school (page 48)
  • Ten per cent of Traveller and Roma reported direct discrimination when accessing healthcare services  (page 63)
  • Forty four per cent of Traveller and Roma surveyed experienced hate motivated harassment in the year but over 53% did not report as they feared nothing would be done.  Ireland had the 3rd highest rate of harassment at 52% (page 35)
  • Child poverty among Irish Travellers is higher at 28% compared to an average 23% of Roma and Traveller children in the survey overall (page 76)
  • Roma and Travellers lack basic amenities in their accommodation and suffer from severe housing deprivation – 21% compared to 3% in general population (page 88)