South Dublin mayor speaks out against vote-down of Traveller bill
2015-11-15 11:09:41 -
Human Rights

By Chinedu Onyejelem


The Mayor of South Dublin County Council has expressed deep disappointment over the voting down of a recent bill to recognise Traveller ethnicity.


“Recognising that Travellers have a distinct ethnicity would have been a welcome first step towards equality for these communities,” said Sarah Holland, who added that recognising Traveller ethnicity would have “forced people to confront their own negative stereotypes”.


The bill was sponsored by Holland’s party Sinn Féin and contained several other key recommendations, including recognising that a root cause of many problems facing Travellers is discrimination at institutional and other levels of Irish society.


Supporters of the bill say the decision to vote it down means that the State has failed in its responsibility to treat Travellers as full and equal citizens.


“The tragedy at Carrickmines, rather than galvanising positive action, showed an uncomfortable underbelly of racism against Travellers,” said Holland, who added that “it would have been so easy for the Government to do the right thing here, but they are afraid to face down the snobbishness and discrimination that they themselves encourage at local level by opposing Traveller accommodation and pandering to fear and elitism.


“There are over 40,000 Travellers in Ireland and their distinct language and way of life adds immensely to the richness of our culture and heritage. We should be celebrating their diversity, and instead we are facilitating their isolation.”

TAGS : South Dublin County Council Traveller Discrimination Traveller Bill
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