Historic Change Can Free Traveller Children from Centuries of Discrimination

Published date: 
1 Mar 2017
Historic Change Can Free Traveller Children from Centuries of Discrimination
The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes the news that An Taoiseach will announce the official recognition of Traveller ethnicity. 
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, speaking today, said: “Today is an extraordinary day for Ireland and momentous for the thousands of Traveller children who have suffered for too long from exclusion and discrimination. Today, a grievous wrong has begun to be righted.  
We applaud the many Traveller groups and individuals who have been steadfast in their advocacy for years to achieve this change. In particular, we would like to acknowledge our member organisations, including Pavee Point, the Irish Traveller Movement and the Traveller Visibility Group for their incredible hard work and firm belief that this day would come.  
We would like to acknowledge the commitment of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD to ensure this change. Credit is also due to Frances Fitzgerald TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality and David Stanton TD, Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration for delivering on this commitment. Special recognition is due to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality for recommending this change be made and all political parties for working towards this. 
Traveller children are more than three and a half times more likely to die in infancy than non-Travellers. Traveller children leave school an average of five years earlier than non-Travellers. Almost six out of ten Travellers live in overcrowded accommodation. Many Travellers in mobile or temporary accommodation have no access to water and sanitation.
Recognising Traveller ethnicity will not fix these problems overnight but it will help Ireland get to grips with the discrimination and disadvantage that many Traveller children face in their lives. It sends a clear message of respect for the rights of the Traveller community.
The Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2017, published last week, awarded its joint lowest grade, an ‘E’ grade, to ‘Traveller and Roma Children’. 
Providing educational supports and proper accommodation are the key ways to ensuring every Traveller child fulfills their potential. The forthcoming Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy must contain concrete actions to improving the lives of Traveller children and their families. We look forward to working with Government and civil society to make sure that this happens.”
For further information, please contact: 
Emma McKinley, Communications & Development Manager 
01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067 
Note for Editors
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for comment/interview.
Report Card 2017 section on ‘Travellers and Roma Children’ is available to download here, see pages 69-74.