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Progress needed on Traveller ethnicity – Adams

14 December, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams this afternoon raised the issue of formal recognition by the state of Traveller ethnicity.

In his response, the Taoiseach revealed that the issue was discussed with Minister Stanton at the recent meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on social affairs; that he has asked him to invite in the four representative NGOs dealing with Traveller issues to speak to the Committee in January; if issues can be addressed and agreement reached that there will be all-party support for it; and he expects to report to the Dáil at the end of January.

Gerry Adams said:

“I want welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment today to a programme of work in January with the objective of resolving the issue of Traveller ethnicity. It is very important that the meeting with the NGO’s takes place and that any matters of concern are agreed.

“Sinn Féin will support an all-party motion or proposal that formally recognises Traveller ethnicity.

“This issue should have been concluded over a year ago. The former Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin told the Traveller community over 20 months ago that Traveller ethnicity would be recognised within 6 months. This raised expectations which were not delivered.

“Last month, media reports suggested that the Taoiseach was about to finally move to formally recognise Traveller ethnicity. I have raised this issue consistently with the Taoiseach and it has been consistently kicked into touch. There is no legislative or constitutional bar on the government recognising Traveller ethnicity immediately. We now need to see progress on this issue.” 

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