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Travellers must be officially recognised as distinct ethnic minority - Ó Snodaigh

5 December, 2006

Sinn Féin Equality spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for official recognition of Travellers as a distinct ethnic minority deserving of protection under the UN Convention Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the establishment of a statutory Traveller Agency, including representatives of Traveller organisations to monitor, co-ordinate and enforce government policy relating to Travellers.


Speaking during Traveller Focus Week in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “The theme of this year’s Traveller Focus Week is ‘participation’.  The Government should reflect this week on its failure to include representatives from Traveller organisations in its High Level Group on Traveller issues, thereby immediately limiting the progress that can be made.  The exclusionary nature of this government’s policy-making explains to an extent the meagre progress that has been made which has been, even by the government’s own admission, disappointing.


“There is an urgent need for the government to reverse its policy of refusal to recognise the Traveller community as a distinct ethnic group.  This refusal limits the protections available to travellers under national, European and International law and denies Travellers access to protection for their cultural rights and services to protect these rights.  This is evidenced, for example, by the failures of local authorities to provide transient accommodation for Travellers.”



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