Historic Step as Traveller Ethnicity Recognised by State

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has today welcomed the State’s recognition of Traveller ethnicity, enacted through a Dáil statement made by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.

Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Emily Logan, who alongside Commission Member David Joyce, addressed the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee in October 2016 to reiterate the Commission’s previous calls for recognition of Traveller ethnicity welcomed today’s announcement.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The statement by An Taoiseach in the Dáil today, is an important message about Ireland’s determination in protecting and respecting human rights and equality of all people in this State

“The Commission commends the valiant and relentless efforts of those Traveller women and men who advocated for many years to see this historic day.

“Recognition of Traveller ethnicity will be the catalyst for a rethink of how we focus resources on policies affecting Travellers, for example, in accessing education, in accessing culturally-appropriate and safe accommodation and in accessing healthcare, amongst other priority areas.

“The State recognition of the ethnicity of our indigenous Traveller community puts Ireland back in step with Northern Ireland, the UK and other EU partners, as well as responding to calls from regional and international monitoring bodies for human rights and equality including the Council of Europe and the United Nations

“With the unequivocal recognition of a distinct culture and identity, we can better anticipate and respond to the needs of the Traveller community living in Ireland.

“Cross-party support for recognition of Traveller ethnicity was confirmed in the Oireachtas report on this issue from 2014 and most recently in a second report in January 2017. We welcome the cross party political leadership which has today seen Travellers finally afforded the recognition the community deserves.”                                     


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095


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Notes to editor: 

The Commission, along with its predecessor bodies – the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority – has consistently raised concerns with regard to the human rights and the equality protections afforded to the Traveller community in Ireland.

As a recent part of this work Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Emily Logan, and Commission Member David Joyce BL, addressed the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee on Traveller ethnicity in October 2016 –


Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) was set up on 1 November 2014 as an independent public body to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding across Irish society.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014 sets out the functions of the Commission, i.e. to ensure that:

  • there is respect for, and protection of, everyone’s human rights;
  • there is respect for the dignity and worth of each person;
  • a person’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice, discrimination, or neglect;
  • everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to take part in the economic, political, social or cultural life of the State; and
  • people respect each other, respect equality and human rights, and understand the value of diversity within society

The IHREC is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.