8 Jul 2019, 12.18

Members of the Traveller communities will speak in the Seanad for the first time since Travellers were formally recognised as an ethnic minority, at a meeting of the Seanad Public Consultation Committee tomorrow.

When the Irish State formally recognised the ethnicity of Irish Travellers on 1st March, 2017, then Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, stated:

“I hope that today will create a new platform for positive engagement by the Traveller community and Government together in seeking sustainable solutions which are based on respect and on an honest dialogue.”

 In a follow on from that milestone moment, the ‘Travellers Towards a more equitable Ireland post-recognition’ hearings will take place in the Seanad Chamber, tomorrow morning, Tuesday 9 July, commencing at 10 am.

Representatives of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Traveller group Minceir Whiden, The National Traveller Women’s Forum, The Irish Traveller Movement and local Traveller groups from Cork, Galway and Wexford, are among those who will speak at the event.

The hearing will comprise of two sessions under the following themes:

  • Traveller Participation and Politics
  • Dialogue and Traveller Social Inclusion

Seanad Public Consultation Committee Chair and Leas-Chathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Paul Coghlan said: “When the Irish State formally recognised the ethnicity of Irish Travellers in March, 2017 it heralded a new era of mutual understanding and relations, based on respect and an on honest dialogue. These hearings are an opportunity for positive engagement with the Traveller community as we shape our future.”

The Committee commenced an extensive research and public consultation process on “Travellers Towards a more equitable Ireland post-recognition” earlier this year.

It invited submissions from the Irish Travellers communities – both individuals and organisations- and any other interested parties on a range of topics including strengthening political representation of Travellers locally, nationally and internationally.

Senator Colette Kelleher, Rapporteur of the topic said: “As we strive towards greater inclusion of Travellers and positive cross-community relations, these hearings are an opportunity to shape a future of shared understanding and help improve visibility, participation and equality measures for Travellers.   She noted that a record number of submissions had been received by the Committee, indicating a real need and willingness to engage.”

More than ten Traveller representatives groups and individuals are among the witnesses making presentations during the hearing.

They will speak on the following six topics during the two themed sessions:

  • Strengthening the political representation of Travellers locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Promoting and supporting increased involvement of Travellers in decision making processes within the public sphere.
  • Increasing the inclusion of Travellers within civil structures, governmental agencies and Departments.
  • Fostering inclusion, dialogue and relationships between Travellers and the wider community.
  • Addressing the stigma, prejudice, discrimination, racism, social exclusion and identify erosion experienced by Travellers.
  • Ensuring accurate and fair treatment in the media.

Once all presenters have made their opening statements, a Question and Answer session will follow for 30 minutes at the end of each Session, where Committee members will get an opportunity ask questions. The hearings will conclude by 2.30p.m.

The hearing can be viewed live here

 

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Committee membership

Senators

Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael

Fine Gael

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil

Sinn Féin

Independent

Independent

Committee membership

Senators

Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael

Fine Gael

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil

Sinn Féin

Independent

Independent