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Colreavy calls for traveller ethnicity to be recognised

3 November, 2015 - by Michael Colreavy TD

Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo/North Leitrim has called on the government to recognise traveller ethnicity and to improve the living standards of their community.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Colreavy said:

“This state, since its foundation, has had a problem with diversity.

“To be Irish was to be a white, settled, Catholic who conformed to the norms that the majority of society believed in and didn’t digress to any other path.

“That is exemplified in the states refusal to recognise traveller ethnicity, and effectively see them as a problem for the state. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

“A report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality found that all identifiable potential excuses or concerns that could be deployed by the State to justify the continued denial of traveller ethnicity should be rejected.

“The recognition of traveller ethnicity has been accepted in the six counties, and the overwhelming body of research support traveller ethnicity.

“Yet the government, in their amendment of tonight’s motion, have said that ‘the question of formal recognition of travellers as a group in Irish society with a unique culture, heritage and ethnic identity is being considered’.

“What more consideration do they need?

“There are many, and you would only have to look at comments left on social media and online, that say that travellers should only be given rights if they comply with certain responsibilities.

“This is a preposterous way of thinking, and if they same were applied to any other ethnic minority in this country, or indeed to say the Irish in the United States, we would be appalled.” 

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