Targeted measures needed in tackling Traveller unemployment

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty, TD, recognised the need for targeted measures to tackle Traveller unemployment during a visit today to Pavee Point.

Pavee Point urged the Minister to name Travellers and Roma as specific target groups in her Department’s forthcoming ‘Pathways to Work Strategy’ and Minister Doherty agreed that mainstream measures are not sufficient on their own.

Minister Doherty receives a Traveller Ethnicity Pin from Missie Collins.

“Figures on Traveller employment are appalling,” said Pavee Point Missie Collins “Labour market interventions to address unemployment are not working for Travellers and Roma. The majority population now has almost 100% employment but Traveller and Roma are still struggling.”

Data from Census 2016 shows an unemployment rate of 80% for Travellers compared with 13% for the general population.

Minister Doherty hears from the Men’s Health Programme at Pavee Point.

A 2018 report by the National Economic and Social Council notes that the groups most likely to be facing multiple reasons for unemployment were Travellers and African migrants.

The Pavee Point Roma Programme explain the factors impacting on Roma employment.

Multiple factors such as: literacy issues, lack of work experience, childcare responsibilities, and in some cases family disabilities, compounded the distance these households are from employment.

“Discrimination plays a significant role in regard to the employment gap between the Traveller and Roma communities and the majority population,” said Missie Collins.

An ESRI 2017 report on the situation and experience of the Traveller community found that while almost two-thirds of the employment gap, between Travellers and non-Travellers, is accounted for by educational disadvantage – when the data are adjusted to account for education, age, gender, marital status, and the presence of children, the gap still remains significant.

Minister Doherty hears the details of impacts on Traveller employment.

“Future Jobs Ireland 2019, which outlines the strategic approach to employment to 2025, does not reference Travellers and Roma as specific target groups, within pillar four: increasing participation in the labour force,” said Ms. Collins.

“We are counting on Minister Doherty to target Travellers and Roma in her Strategy and we welcome her focus on ‘active inclusion’ and improving employment outcomes of groups most distanced from employment.

Pavee Point’s submission on the Pathways to Work Strategy makes a series of recommendations including:

• Data systems to include an ethnic identifier to ensure specific outcomes for Travellers and Roma can be measured.

• A number of targeted actions and mainstream approaches aimed at increasing the efficacy and quality of Traveller and Roma engagement with, and outcomes from the Public Employment Service.

• Medical cards for Travellers to address health inequalities.

• The DEASP to set out its intended approach to discharge on its obligations under the public sector statutory equality and human rights duty.