Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre
Press Statement

October 20th, 2014

Discrimination Follows Travellers to the Grave

“I just wanted dignity and respect for my son.”

Speaking today following the release of the Equality Tribunal decision involving discriminatory conduct by a funeral director against a Traveller family, Pavee Point Director Martin Collins highlighted the ongoing and endemic racism against Travellers in Ireland.

“In my thirty years of advocating for Traveller rights, this is the most repulsive act of discrimination I have seen. Burying the dead with dignity is of vital importance to all communities. To strip a family of that dignity while they try to bury their 14 year old son is reprehensible. This case is a reminder, if one was needed, of the systemic, institutional racism experienced by my community in Irish society.”

Ann Joyce, the mother of Aaron Joyce, spoke of the hurt and anguish caused during what was already a traumatic time for her family. “From the very beginning, my sole aim was to regain some dignity and respect for my son. This was about honouring Aaron’s memory.

“This was never about money and we have decided that if the payment is received we will donate it to the Make A Wish Foundation. We know that this is something Aaron would have wanted.”

“Hopefully we can send a very clear message to any service provider that discrimination is wrong and will not be accepted. I would encourage any Traveller who experiences discrimination to use the processes available to combat it.”

Since the beginning of this case, Pavee Point has advocated on behalf of the family involved and attended both hearings before the Tribunal in October and December 2013.

Read about Tribunal judgement here.