17/04/2014

Justice Committee Calls For State To Recognise Traveller Ethnicity

The Taoiseach or the Minister for Justice and Equality should make a statement to Dáil Éireann confirming that this State recognises the ethnicity of the Travelling community, according to a new Report on the Recognition of Traveller Ethnicity by the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.

The Committee report has also recommended that the Government should then write to the relevant international bodies, confirming that this State recognises the ethnicity of the Travelling community.

It also recommends that the Government build on these initiatives and commence a time-limited dialogue with the traveller representative groups about the new legislation or amendments to existing legislation now required.

Committee member and report rapporteur Pádraig MacLochlainn said: "In reaching our conclusions and recommendations, the Joint Committee drew upon the overwhelming evidence in favour of traveller ethnicity, provided to the Joint Committee at its hearings and visits and from a number of previously released reports on the topic from the Irish Human Rights Commission, the Equality Authority and the Irish Travellers Movement.

"The recommendations outlined in this report should now be acted upon swiftly. It is no longer tenable for this State to deny Traveller ethnicity.

"It is long past time for this State to fully honour our responsibilities to the international conventions on human rights and to truly value and protect our traveller communities."

Committee Chairman David Stanton, TD, said: "The Committee considered a number of written submissions it had received and held three public hearings with a number of stakeholders to consider the issues in more detail. We would like to thank all the witnesses who attended at public hearings to give evidence and to those who took the time to make written submissions.

"Our report and its recommendations will now be sent to the Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter and his Department as part of their on-going deliberations on the issue of traveller of ethnicity."

The committee's report can be read in PDF format here.

(MH/JP)

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