New National Action Plan Against Racism Welcome and Much Needed at This Time

On International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2023, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre welcomes the publication of a new and much needed National Action Plan Against Racism (NAPAR).

NAPAR is a commitment to eliminating racism in all its forms in Ireland and Pavee Point welcomes the clear and early mention of Travellers as being directly covered by all provisions and recommendations in the plan.

Pavee Point also welcomes the acknowledgement of racism as systemic in Ireland and that this requires responses within the structures and institutions of the state.

“This plan is being launched at a very pertinent time for Travellers and Roma and for other minorities – especially given the rise in hate speech, anti-immigrant sentiment and the activities of the far right,” said Pavee Point Co Director, Martin Collins.

“It is encouraging that an independent special rapporteur will be appointed to monitor implementation of the plan and it’s important that Traveller organisations are involved in the plan’s monitoring and implementation structures also,” added Mr. Collins.

Data on Ethnicity

“There is a welcome focus on data on ethnicity in the new NAPAR,“ said Pavee Point Co Director, Lynsey Kavanagh.  “This is something Pavee Point has been very strong on.  It’s now acknowledged that only when we have data on ethnicity can we see the inequalities. So this is really important in order to support evidence based policy and service provision.”

Health Inequalities

Primary Health Care Co-Ordinator Mary Brigid Collins said it was positive to see that the plan acknowledges the need for targeted and mainstreaming measures to address health inequalities. 

“Travellers and Roma are entitled to the same services as everyone else but sometimes targeted measures are needed to ensure Travellers can access these services and have equal outcomes,” said Mary Brigid. 

“And it’s very important that there is recognition of social determinants of health as we are very aware that your living conditions, education and employment opportunities all affect your health and well-being.”  

Anti Racism Training in Education

Pavee Point Education Worker, Tracey Reilly said that the proposal to introduce anti-racism training at all levels of education is really welcome and something that Pavee Point has been highlighting for many years.

“Understanding racism and discrimination and understanding how prejudice and bias can impact on people you work with is vital to help ensure better outcomes for Travellers and Roma in schools. 

“We hope the Government will follow through on this to ensure that targets for outcomes for Travellers across all levels of education will be introduced.”

The publication of National Action Plan Against Racism 2023 – 2027 follows the establishment of an Anti Racism Committee by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to look at the issue in 2020.  A number of Travellers sat on this committee as did Pavee Point Chairperson and previous chair of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Anastasia Crickley.