Travellers traditionally carry out a range of economic activities including recycling, tin-smithing, seasonal labour and door-to-door selling.

Modernisation from the 1960s saw the destruction of the traditional Traveller economic base, a move by Travellers to town and cities and a subsequent dependency on Social Welfare payments. The State attitude to Traveller unemployment has largely been to educate and train Travellers to operate within the mainstream labour force.

However, Census 2016 shows a staggering 80% unemployment in the Traveller community compared to a 12.9% unemployment rate in general.

Often Travellers who do work in the mainstream labour force hide their Traveller identity to escape racism and discrimination.


Traveller men's gardening project in north Dublin . ©Photo by Derek Speirs