Irish Traveller Movement Statement on Fundamental Rights Agency Report on Travellers
The Irish State must give greater regard to European funds available to alleviate Traveller Disadvantage within The State
National Traveller Policy – timebound oversight needed to provide greater guarantee of action.
Wednesday September 23rd 2020, 3.30pm
Today the European body, the Fundamental Rights Agency, launched findings of research undertaken in six European states including Ireland with Roma, Gypsy and Travellers which found Travellers here to be highest among countries surveyed to experience prejudice by others, discrimination, harassment & sttacks, poor living conditions and a lack of accommodation generally.
Of the other countries, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, Travellers in Ireland had the lowest employment rate among populations at 15% compared with 50% of Roma in Belgium.
Commenting on the Report, Director of the Irish Traveller Movement, Bernard Joyce said “The report functions as a reminder of the neglect across every aspect of Travellers’ lives. Irish Government policy commitments have the potential to redress decades of exclusion and marginalisation but need motivation to convert those policies from intention to action. Those actions also need to be better resourced, monitored with stringent oversight to ensure Travellers can be included and participate in every setting, and have equivalent life chances as all Irish and European citizens. Ireland must give greater regard to European funds available to alleviate Traveller disadvantage within our own State too”.
The Committee of Ministers to the Council of Europe in January 2020 adopted a new action plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion and stated, “Member States, as well as the European Union and other international organisations should take further action and increase co-ordination to advance the social and intercultural inclusion of Roma and Travellers in Europe.”
It is also called for the European Court of Human Rights and other Council of Europe monitoring bodies to closely monitor the situation of Roma and Travellers and deal with discrimination and other human rights issues.
The 2020 Strategic EU Framework for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation is the centre point for European wide action, resourced under the EU’s structural funds. The National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy and further commitments made under the Programme for Government 2020, provide Travellers by an inclusion in name, commitments to implementation, adequate funding, governance and timebound oversight will provide a greater guarantee of confidence to those actions.
Full report linked here: FRA Research
Findings at a glance
Across the six countries surveyed Ireland scored second highest in terms of Travellers and Roma’s experience of discrimination with 7 out of 10 in the Netherlands and 6 out of 10 in Ireland.
France has the biggest share of the general population that feels uncomfortable with Roma and Travellers as neighbours (52%), with Ireland next at 46%, 41% in Belgium, 38% in the United Kingdom, 33% in the Netherlands and 30% in Sweden.
The share of Roma and Travellers who had paid work in the last four weeks (including in part-time work and as self-employed) is very low across all survey countries. With lowest in Ireland at 15% to 55% for Travellers in the Netherlands.
The majority of Roma and Travellers work full-time, except in France and Ireland, where only 41% and 38% of Travellers in employment work full-time. In France, a higher share work in occasional (26%) and ad hoc jobs; in Ireland they are mostly in part-time jobs (58%).
The work situation in these two countries is particularly precarious for Travellers. In France only 18% and in Ireland only 26% of respondents in employment hold a permanent contract.
Ireland has the lowest employment rate among the surveyed groups; 38% there say they felt discriminated against when looking for work in the last 12 months and 70% in the last five years.
In Ireland 63% of Travellers do not have a bank account, the highest of all six countries, compared with 5% of all people in Ireland. When compared with other Traveller, Roma and Gypsy it was in Belgium (29%), United Kingdom (26%), France (14%) and in Sweden (9%).
Housing and Accommodation
As many as 13% of Roma and Travellers surveyed live in accommodation with leaking roofs, damp walls or rot in window frames or floor. The percentage is highest for Travellers in Ireland, a quarter of whom live in such conditions (25%)
More than 90% of Travellers in Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands feel that there are not enough places – especially appropriate halting sites – for them to live.
Findings related to Travellers in Ireland are based on a survey with 518 Travellers in Ireland during the period Dec 2018 – July 2019. Full report here: FRA Research