Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D, noted the historic and symbolic recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group in his address to the Dáil on March 1st 2017.

At approximately 6.45 pm he announced,

“I wish to now formally recognise Travellers as a distinct ethnic group within the Irish nation. It is a historic day for our Travellers and a proud day for Ireland. Lá iontach tábhactach é seo do lucht Taisteal na Tíre – La d’ár saol mar a déarfá. May all the people of our nation live in the shelter and never in the shadow of each other”.

The Taoiseach highlighted how "Our Traveller community is an integral part of our society for over a millennium, with their own distinct identity - a people within our people."

He explained how the statement of recognition will go some way to ensuring Travellers have a "better future with less negativity, exclusion and marginalisation".

Joint Coordinator of National Traveller MABS, Nancy Power, described how she felt both proud and delighted with the decision by the State to recognise her community as a distinct ethnic group. She described the feeling of hope she has for her children- hope that the next generation will be proud of who they are and will not try to hide their identity. “My hope”, she stated “is that children will not have to hide who they are, and that their culture will be reflected and celebrated in the education curriculum”.

National Traveller MABS has highlighted the necessity for the Traveller community to be recognised as a distinct ethnic group for many years The Taoiseach’s statement is the culmination of a long campaign by Traveller groups nationally.

The support that MABS, the CIS and the CIB have given us has helped achieve this terrific historic outcome. We wish to gratefully thank all MABS services, CIS services and the CIB for all your support.

Please click here for video of Taoiseach’s Dáil announcement.

Published: 03 March 2017