The first World Romani Congress was held in London on 8th of April, 1971. It was the beginning of a European movement to lobby against the inequalities faced by Roma and Travellers.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins 50 years later sends a message of solidarity to all Travellers and Roma. President Higgins makes the case for Irish society to acknowledge the racism experienced by Irish Travellers, to acknowledge our failure to right these wrongs and to actively work to remove barriers to equality.

“It is past time for achieving improvements,” he says and urges people and politicians to look at the obstacles to advancement. He commends Irish Travellers for being a resilient community, for Travellers’ ongoing contribution to Irish society and calls for a celebration of our shared humanity.

“Our journey into the future is a shared journey,” says President Higgins and calls for resolve, imagination and generosity of spirit needed to accommodate each other if all of us are to vindicate our rights as citizens and be true to our heritage.