Irish Travellers will be recognised as an ethnic minority

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Irish Travellers will be formally recognised as an ethnic minority today

The Taoiseach will make a statement in the Dáil this evening.

At 6:45pm Enda Kenny will recognise the unique ethnic identity of Irish Travellers for the first time.

A report, brought to cabinet last week by the Minister of State with Responsibility for Equality David Stanton, outlined that the recognition of Traveller rights would neither confer new rights on the community nor mean any extra costs.

No objections to the report were heard.

An ESRI report released in January highlighted the “extreme disadvantage” suffered by Travellers across a range of areas, including health, housing, education, employment and mortality.

The report said that the recognition of Traveller ethnicity “could be of considerable benefit in ensuring respect for the cultural identity of Travellers in the context of targeted services,”.

Campaigners for the community will welcome the news today, as they’ve been seeking recognition for the last 25 years.

What does ethnicity mean?

Defined as belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition, ethnicity is not the same as nationality or place of birth. Your ethnicity or cultural background means the group you descended from. An ethnic group is made up by people who share certain characteristics such as culture, language, religion and traditions.

According to Pavee Point, which campaigns for traveller rights, the recognition of Traveller ethnicity is an acknowledgement that Travellers experience racism and discrimination.