Tag: irish travellers
The ERRC congratulates Irish Traveller organisations and activists for their success after decades of campaigning in making ethnic recognition a reality. Change has been a long time coming. The Taoiseach Enda Kenny got a very rare standing ovation in the Dáil last Wednesday evening, for his announcement of formal recognition for Travellers as a distinct ethnic group within the State, in what he called “a historic day for our Travellers and a proud day for Ireland.”
“I want to say here, as unambiguously and as clearly as I can, that discrimination and prejudice against Travellers and Roma is racism and it must be named as racism and tackled as racism.”
Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
Seven months after the Carrickmines tragedy which claimed 10 young lives on a poorly maintained temporary halting site, the Irish Government stands accused in Europe of continued neglect and failure when it comes to accommodation for Travellers.
Much controversy followed the recent appearance on TV of John Connors, the quiet-spoken star of the hit crime drama Love/Hate and advocate for Traveller rights on Ireland’s Late Late Show. Connors gave a moving account of the impact of racism upon his community, but what was controversial and sparked media debate was the hectoring and shrill reaction of the show’s host, Ryan Tubridy to hearing a few home truths about the state of hate in Ireland.
For generations Irish Travellers have been discriminated against and made feel unwelcome in their own country. Roma, many having arrived in Ireland only in the last two decades, are now experiencing similar discrimination. Media outlets revel in portraying stereotypical and negative images of Travellers and Roma, readily pointing to ethnic markers if someone who is a Traveller or Roma can be connected in any way to any scandal. As for the impact of such media representations – well Ireland made headlines when a Romani girl was taken by police from her parents in Dublin after a woman contacted the presenter of a trashy TV programme (which sometimes featured trashy hysteria about Roma in Ireland) claiming that the child didn’t look like her parents (and that Roma rob children so that they can get child benefits). The child was eventually returned to her family, and apologies were forthcoming (although not from the TV station), but the damage had already been done.