Traveller community given ethnic minority status
“The formal recognition of Irish Travellers as an indigenous ethnic minority by the Republic of Ireland has been hailed as a “historic” day.
Members cheered and applauded in the Dáil (Irish parliament) on Wednesday as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny made the announcement.
There was a standing ovation as he gave status to the “distinct ethnic group”.
He said the statement of recognition would go some way to ensuring they have a “better future with less negativity”.
The Dáil was told that a “large and unprecedented” crowd had gathered outside the building to witness the moment.
Irish President Michael D Higgins welcomed the move, describing it as “a momentous decision, formally recognising Travellers’ place in Irish society”.
He congratulated Travellers’ organisations on their campaign.
“I have no doubt that today’s clarification will be of assistance in interpreting legislation in relation to Travellers’ rights, and ensuring respect for Travellers’ distinct identity within the fabric of Irish society,” the president added.”
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It’s over a quarter of a century since the Celtic League criticised the attitude of the Irish government to the Traveller community in the pamphlet ‘Human Rights on the Celtic Fringe’.
Image: Standing ovation on the Dail as historic announcement is made,
pp Celtic League.