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ITM Youth Working Group

ITM Youth Working Group Background and History

ITM Youth Working Group
Who are we?

We are a group of Travellers and non Travellers committed to actively pushing for equality and outcomes for young Travellers

The ITM Youth Working Group is a forum which bring together Travellers & non Travellers working with young Travellers to share information & best practice as well as to ensure young Travellers voice is feeding into policy & practice that impacts on them


The ITM’s youth working group was established in February 1993 after a number of people, both Travellers and settled, working with young Travellers came together to discuss their concerns about the lack of appropriate opportunities for young Travellers to meet at a national level to discuss and explore issues which affect them.

It began as Geiste Gotchin Mincier (GGM), which in Cant means a group of young Travellers. GGM is no longer in existence however ITM have continued to ensure that Young Travellers are supported to have a voice and to feed into the overall work of ITM as well as National Education & Youth policy and practice arenas through The ITM Youth Working Group (ITM YWG)

Aims of the ITM Youth Working Group

  • To ensure that Young Travellers are supported to have a voice and to feed into the overall work of ITM
  • To provide a forum where Travellers and non Travellers working with young Travellers can come together to discuss issues coming up in their work as well as to share information & best practice
  • To share information at a local and regional level in order to feed into national policies and initiatives
  • To influence policy at a local, regional and national level
  • To lobby for change and for use of resources that support the active involvement of young Travellers in youth & education services.

How to get involved

Any member of the Irish Traveller Movement is welcome and encouraged to join the ITM Youth Working Group. While most members are youth & community workers working within Traveller projects, members working within mainstream youth projects that include Travellers and or are seeking to support Traveller participation are welcome. Members who may not be a youth worker but are involved with young Travellers as part of their work in another capacity (Community Healthcare Workers, Education workers etc) are also welcome.

Contact Details

Paddy Collins                                                           Paula Madden
Chairperson of the ITM Youth Working Group         ITM Education/Youth Worker 
Pavee Point Youth Services                                      4-5 Eustace Street
46 North Great Charles Street                                  Dublin 2
Dublin 1                                                                   01-6796577 or 0872410258
01-8780257 Ext 123                                                             

Structure of Youth Working Group Meetings

The Youth Working Group had been meeting over the past number of years approximately every six weeks from 11-2pm. As part of an ongoing review of the ITM YWG membership it was agreed at a meeting in November 2009 that in order to support participation and involvement of more groups around the country that the group would change the structure of the working group to regional extended meetings in 2010 

It was agreed that the YWG would support 2 National Events Traveller Focus Week & a themed event in May & 4 regional events in 2010 the following areas

Sligo                 Thursday 11th March  2010                    12-4pm
Dublin               Wednesday 14th April 2010                   11-4pm
Tullamore          Wednesday 22nd September 2010         11-4pm
Cork                 Wednesday 3rd November 2010            11-4pm

The meeting would be a longer day as it was felt that for members to justify travel expenses/time away from projects that it would be more attractive coming to a fuller day where there would be more included in the day i.e. training element included etc.

The format of the regional meetings would include

11- 12noon    Overview and promotion of the ITM Youth Working Group – Its vision & work

Brief input on the 2 National YWG events for the year. Regional Groups feeding into the planning of Dec Traveller Focus Group event and one other National event in May

12-12.20    Presentation by host Traveller organisation on their work with young Travellers followed by Q&A

12.20- 1.15    Information Sharing by other members
1.15-2pm        LUNCH

2-4pm            TRAINING and or PRESENTATION – To be identified regionally

Input/training on the youth mental health module & game developed by the National Traveller Suicide Prevention Project available on request by Petra Daly

Membership of the Working Group

Membership of the ITM youth working group is open to ITM member organisations who are working with young Travellers. Currently the membership of the group is made up of:

Paula Madden           ITM Education Worker who supports co-ordination of group
Paddy Collins            Chairperson of ITM YWG Pavee Point Youth Service
Shane Lynch             Clondalkin Travellers Development Group
Michael Collins          Pavee Point Youth Services
Marie Fitzpatrick       Pavee Point Youth Services
Brigit Collins              Pavee Point Youth Services
Petra Daly                 National Traveller Suicide Prevention Project
Eric O’Brien             Cork Foroige Youth Project
John McGee             Donegal Travellers Development Group
Emma Parsons          Exchange House
John Paul Collins       Exchange House
Sarah Byrne              Exchange House
Celine McInerney      Tullamore Traveller Movement
Kelly McGinley         Sligo Travellers Development Group
Joe McDonagh         Galway Traveller Movement
Cindy Sweeney         Galway Traveller Movement
Michael Monghan      Galway Traveller Movement
Pipa Daniels              Mayo Traveller Movement
Cora Staunton           Mayo Traveller Movement
Gretta Murphy          Waterford Traveller Youth Project

Contact details for the group can be obtained from Paula Madden at 0872410258 or 01-6796577 or

Setting out the context of Youth Work with young Travellers

The ITM Youth Working Group believe that youth work with Travellers should aim to enable young people to become active participants in their own communities and in the wider society, and to work towards breaking the cycle of poverty and exclusion. Youth work should assist in the development of individuals and collective self-esteem through services which are based on standards of excellence, are non-judgemental, accepting, culturally appropriate, encouraging, and yet challenging.

It is important that youth work address the issue of discrimination and in particular racism. Central to those issues is the needs to highlight the fact that all of the effects of racism and discrimination experienced by the community as a whole also effects young Travellers. They often suffer a double discrimination in being young and in being a Traveller. This issue is central to the work with young Travellers to ensure they are accepted, included and treated as equal citizens in Irish society and that youth organisations are aware of the implications for youth work practice. Youth work with Travellers also needs to respond to the particular demographic, cultural and educational needs of young Travellers.

It recognised that youth work with young Travellers aims to empower young Travellers by involving them in their own development and community and supporting them to challenge the issues and structures that affect their lives. The role and importance of youth work in response to the needs of young Travellers is crucial given the striking age structure of Travellers and the serious gaps in the education provided and availed of.

Approximately 80% of the Traveller population are under 25 years of age and 50% under 15 years of old. Young Travellers are not a homogenous groups and a range of different responses are needed to the variety of their circumstances and needs.

Overview of work of the ITM Youth Working Group carried out 2008- 2010

Over the past 2 years the ITM Youth Working Group have been involved in the following work

  • Co-ordination of 6weekly meetings of the ITM’s Youth Working Group which brings together members from across the country working with young Travellers.
  • The production of a document to support participation of young Travellers in the moment.
  • The co-ordination of training at 4 regional workshops to over 60 youth workers (both Traveller & settled) on how to support the active participation of young Travellers. This was done in partnership with Youth Work Ireland & Pavee Point who’s Youth Team facilitated training sessions. 
  • The co-ordination of key National Education & Youth events.
  • Dec 2007 events held by the ITM on the inclusion of Travellers in Education and the inclusion of Travellers in the Movement as part of Traveller Focus Week (TFW) 
  • Dec 2008 Traveller Youth Event held as part of TFW in Tullamore (brought together over 100 young Travellers). It brought together over 100 young Travellers & youth workers to explore what Traveller culture and identity means to young Travellers. The event was promoted through the media and ‘RTE DEN’ broadcasted a clip of young Travellers discussing their culture and what makes them proud to be a Traveller Link to report & contact details for DVD
  • May 2009 ITM Education Youth Event which brought together over 70 young Travellers and promoted through a very Traveller led event the value of education through workshops, motivational speeches by young Travellers doing well in the educational system.
  • Dec 2009 Traveller Youth Event held in Dublin as part of Traveller Focus Week – Theme Traveller Pride