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Positive discrimination measures needed to deal with high levels of unemployment amongst Travellers – Quinlivan

17 January, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has said that whilst the figures for Traveller participation in the labour market are shocking, he is not surprised. Speaking following the publication of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report ‘A Social Portrait of Travellers in Ireland’, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“The ESRI Report is shocking and highlights once again the long-term and intergenerational impact of institutional discrimination for travellers.

“In terms of labour market participation, the Report found a dramatic difference between the percentage of Travellers and non-Travellers at work.

“For example, only 11 percent of Travellers are at work, compared to 66 percent of non-Travellers.

“The data also shows that twelve percent of Travellers are unable to work due to disability, while the figure for non-Travellers is 5 percent.        

“In terms of labour market participation, the Report  found  the  percentage of adults ages 25-64 who are active in the labour market and  who are either employed or unemployed, as opposed to being inactive, i.e. caring for family, in education or unable to work due to disability or illness, is 61 percent for Travellers and 79 percent for non-Travellers.   

“In terms of unemployment, the Report found that in 2011,the rate for Travellers was 82 percent, while for non-Travellers it was 17 percent.

“These shocking figures and the Report in general clearly illustrate the devastating impact of educational, health and housing disadvantage for Travellers, and how this in turns severely impacts their employment opportunities.  

“The failure of the state to introduce legislation and a raft of proactive policies to deal with this issue has meant that serious and deeply ingrained discrimination limiting life chances for Travellers is now embedded across Irish society.

“Government must acknowledge the seriousness of this issue and its devastating impact on Travellers lives.    

 “The onus is on the government to break the cycle of exclusion and increase labour market access and employment for Travellers.

“This will only be achieved through a series of targeted and robust positive discrimination measures.” 

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