At a round-table in Brussels held on 3rd June, hosted by Nessa Childers MEP, representatives from the Irish Traveller community and Roma community in Ireland, met Soraya Post MEP S&D (Sweden), and Rudolf Kawczynski the former president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum.
Ms Post pledged her full support for the Irish Travellers and Roma, and that Irish Travellers will be included in her work in the parliament. Soraya is one of two Roma MEPs, and leads the S&D campaign against Roma discrimination. Her campaign is that that Member States which do not respect the anti-discrimination directive should be sanctioned.
The roundtable briefing was also attended by the offices of Lynn Boylan MEP, Deirdre Clune MEP, and a representative from the Green/European Free Alliance political group in the European Parliament.
Impact of austerity on the Irish Traveller & Roma community
Roundtable – Wednesday, 3rd June, 1pm to 2.30pm – Room A1E – 1
Nessa Childers opening address
‘I want to thank all the groups from Ireland and my MEP colleague, Soraya Post, and Rudolf Kawczynski, for attending this roundtable discussion this afternoon. The idea for event occurred during my visit to Tallaght Travellers last year, and hearing first-hand how the austerity agenda has disproportionally affected the Traveller and Roma communities.
I am also glad that a wider delegation was able to take part in a group visit to the parliament, and we had a very interesting discussion this morning in the visitors centre!
As we know research shows that Travellers and Roma are one of the most marginalised and impoverished groups in Ireland. As elsewhere in Europe, anti-Traveller and Roma discrimination, racism and prejudice are widespread and deep-rooted.
The so called austerity agenda introduced by the Troika, and changes to budget spending implemented in recent years have further impacted on what was an already marginalised community.’
The following groups and organisations from Ireland made presentations during the round-table –
Clondalkin Travellers Development Group – Maria Elena Costa Sa
National Travellers Counselling Service – Tomas McCann
Pavee Point – Mary Brigid McCann
South Dublin Partnership / Roma Health Bus Tallaght Area – Zuzana Tessrova & Deirdre Jacob
Tallaght Travellers – Patrick Nevin
Tallaght Travellers Youth Service – Christina Grannell
Wexford Primary HealthCare Programme – Brigid Wall
Irish Traveller and Roma visitors group, European Parliament, Brussels 3rd June