The purpose of this conference paper is to understand the different methods of working with minorities and their relevance to real life. Discrimination against travellers is an issue of diversity. This paper will focus on the inequality that travellers experience in Irish society. This paper would start by giving a brief introduction into what it means to be a traveller, their various beliefs and culture. It would also focus on discussing the Irish government response to the issue and also whether the approach taken by the government in dealing with travellers has been assimilation, integration or multiculturalism. Lastly, I would look at various articles, which have discussed problems Irish travellers face on their day to day living in Ireland.
According to the Equal Status Act (2000), which defined traveller community as follows: "Traveller community means the community of people who are commonly called travellers and who are identified (by themselves and others) as people with a shared history, culture and traditions including, historically a nomadic way of life on the island of Ireland". (National Disability Authority, 2011) Irish travellers are traditionally nomadic people of ethic origin, who have always keep to their traditions and have distinct cultural practices such as early marriage, desire to be mobile and a tradition of self-employment. (Pavee Point Travellers’ Centre, 2011)
According to an article written by the Irish times (2011), the following are three different comments of what the settled people had to say about travellers:
First comment- “I believe there is a ferocious amount of physical and mental abuse in that community. Women Travellers are treated like second-class citizens,” Second comment - “They live off the State, and they get away with things ordinary citizens cannot. There are very few Travellers who work. There are all these fine, able-bodied Traveller men, who are living off the State and who have no self-respect. They choose to end up the same as their fathers and ancestors. There’s no progress.” Third comment - “Travellers don’t conform to society or systems. And we don’t like untidy people next door to us. I do think Travellers get a raw deal, though. They go to school, but at home, there is no incentive to value education. There’s a lot of bias against Travellers, and maybe overall, it’s unfair. But they do have an attitude. They’re very much in your face when you’re out. They are very forceful, and invariably in a group. They have no problem cutting across you, or barging in front of you.” Travellers identify themselves as a distinct community but traveller ethnicity has been contested by the majority of ‘settled’ community. According to, Cornell and Hartmann (1998) which said that ethnic groups are based on three types of claims; one of this, is a claim to kinship, “a claim to kinship broadly defined; a claim to a common history of some sort; and a claim that certain symbols capture the core of the group’s identity”. Irish travellers are people with a separate identity, history and culture. They are indigenous and distinctive minority group, who make up less than 1% of the population in Ireland. According to the Irish times (2012), the census result of the Central Statistic Office 2011 revealed that the Irish traveller have increased by 32 per cent from 22,435 to 29,573. Travellers are known as one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged group of people in Irish society. Travellers as a group or individual, always experience high levels of prejudice and exclusion in Irish society in their daily lives; this is more of the reason why travellers keep their ethnicity and their culture. They do not feel rejected by members of their own community and group. Pavee is a word travellers use to describe themselves. Travellers have two different types of language known as ‘Cant’ or ‘Gammon’. Sometimes the language is referred to by academics as...
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