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National strategy for Roma integration

Ireland’s National Strategy paves the way for further efforts from local authorities towards integration of the Roma and Travellers.

Council of Europe estimates: approximately 37,500 Roma live in Ireland (0.9% of the population).
For data on the situation on Roma in this country, please see the overview published by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights.

National Roma Integration Strategy/set of measures

Ireland’s National Roma and Travellers' Integration Strategy is not a strategy as such, but rather an integrated set of policy measures within Ireland’s social inclusion policies. In defining policies aimed at the gradual elimination of poverty and social exclusion among marginalised Roma and Traveller communities, in particular in the areas of education, employment, health and housing, Ireland recognises the importance of developing local action plans reflecting the needs of individual communities. 

Ireland’s set of measures stresses the importance of regular dialogue with all major stakeholders concerned with Roma and Traveller integration, and insists upon the crucial involvement of municipal and local authorities. Among key measures foreseen are a Traveller accommodation programme adopted by local authorities that defines annual targets and a range of Travellers-dedicated health services.

National Roma contact point

Each Member State was invited to appoint a National Contact Point for the National Roma Integration Strategy, with the authority to co-ordinate its development and implementation. In the case of Ireland it is at the Traveller Policy Division, Department of Justice and Equality.

Assessment of Ireland’s strategy implementation

In Spring 2014, the Commission adopted its assessment on the progress made in the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies in the four key areas of education, employment, healthcare and housing, as well as in the fight against discrimination and the use of funding.

Promising practices

Healthcare: Ireland has made available a wide range of Travellers-dedicated health services, such as the Traveller Health Units and the Primary Health Care Projects (including health mediators and public health nurses for Travellers). Since 1994, some Traveller women have been trained as community health mediators to develop primary healthcare based on Traveller communities' values.

Pavee Point, Traveller and Roma centre

The Traveller Education Strategy launched in 2006 covers current and future policy in relation to Traveller education. The focus is on the development of a more inclusive school environment through the whole school planning process, teaching practice, admissions policies, codes of behaviour and whole school evaluation.

The Traveller and Roma centre Pavee Point in Ireland is directly aimed at Roma communities. Pavee Point was founded as the Dublin Travellers and Education Development Group in 1985 at a time of significant struggle for the Traveller population. Pavee Point works in many specific areas, including drug and alcohol addiction, youth work, education, information, violence against women and health. Pavee Point also runs a dedicated Roma programme, focusing on the rights of the Roma population in Ireland. The organisation is made up of Roma, Travellers and members of the majority population working together to achieve human rights for minority groups.