Upcoming Events

National | Rights and Freedoms

no events match your query!

User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

forward

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link And over at the SBP? 12:09 Tue Sep 02, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Commemoration Wars ? and what of Unionism? 05:11 Tue Sep 02, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Timeline of the Irish left 14:00 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | AonRud

offsite link Marriage equality ? 85% and complacency 12:15 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | Tomboktu

offsite link A sort of 1970?s quiz 4 12:09 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link I SEE THE CLICHÉ CHICKENS ARE BACK AGAIN TED 10:02 Sat Aug 30, 2014

offsite link IRELAND?S TAX HAVEN INDUSTRY 22:01 Tue Aug 05, 2014

offsite link IPA Summer School - Social Justice, Poverty and Ireland - 28 July 2014 11:56 Mon Jul 28, 2014

offsite link Feminist Economics - Cuts are a Feminist Issue 08:21 Wed Jun 18, 2014

offsite link Feminist Economics - Care and Social Reproduction 16:11 Fri Jun 13, 2014

Dublin Opinion >>

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link Win Lin v Governor of Cloverhill Prison. Mon Sep 01, 2014 15:40 | GuestPost

offsite link DCU School of Law and Government Inaugural Conference: ?Judges, Politics and the Irish Constitution.... Mon Sep 01, 2014 09:27 | Sinead Ring

offsite link Presumption of Guilt: Islamic State and UK Criminal Law Fri Aug 29, 2014 19:15 | Colin Murray

offsite link Time for Our Referendum Sat Aug 23, 2014 13:57 | Vicky Conway

offsite link Call for Submissions: Irish Community Development Law Journal Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:01 | admin

Human Rights in Ireland >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

A Very Irish Apartheid

category national | rights and freedoms | feature author Tuesday March 02, 2004 01:42author by Cathal Mac Oireachtaigh Report this post to the editors

Travellers and Educational Inequality

Irish Traveller Movement logo It's true to say that a very real and ugly form of social apartheid exists in Irish society while at the same time our Government takes its usual proverbial ostrich approach to the problem. This social apartheid is experienced by the single most discriminated against ethnic minority in Ireland, the Travelling Community.

Inadequate accommodation, poor health status and low educational attainment galvanized by government policy and practice, have in turn exasperated the discrimination and the exclusion of Travellers from mainstream society. Travellers experience prejudice of every shape and form on a daily basis and thus are denied their basic human rights when it comes to utilizing the most basic services in society. The under representation of Travellers in the Irish Education system is one of the most worrying examples of the inequality and discrimination that over the last fifty odd years have been stitched deep into the fabric of modern Irish society.

More on Education Cutbacks
Newswire references to Traveller issues

While the number of students from working class (or in more politically correct terms `lower socio-economic') backgrounds participating in 3rd level has increased in the past few years, access to 3rd level still remains the preserve of a predominantly middle class populace. The chances of a Traveller ever setting foot in one of UCDs hallowed lecture halls are slim if not nonexistent and in fact the number of travelers that have attended 3rd level can be counted on one hand. This disturbing reality is nonetheless somewhat expected considering the fact that only 14% of Travellers even make it into Second level. Those who do make it, rarely complete the leaving Cert. More startling again a significant number of Traveller children fail to attend primary level school. With these harsh realities in mind it no surprise that 80% of adult Travellers are illiterate.

People are often quick to assume (usually based on nothing but in built prejudices) that the nomadic lifestyle at the heart of Travelling culture is what gives rise to such disadvantage.

This shallow point of view blatantly fails to recognize the array of complex factors involved and ultimately perpetuates the widespread opinion that Travellers are sole contributors to their own demise. This opinion couldn't be further from the truth. Our very own Dr.Kathleen Lynch, of UCD's Equality Studies Centre, outlines very clearly in her book Equality in Education, the constraints facing those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In summary Dr Lynch identifies the barriers to education as economic, institutional, and cultural. It is the combination of these factors that make access and participation of Travellers in education unfeasible.

Economically, Travellers lack the financial security needed to support long-term participation in education. Even if they did have the `few bob', it is highly unlikely that the institutional barriers could then be over come. In effect second and third level institutions are ill equipped to facilitate this ethnic minority. The need for remedial resources and inter-cultural teacher training are just two of many institutional factors that hinder Travellers educational chances. Third level access schemes, while welcomed and appreciated, need more resources and innovation in order to deal with Traveller needs when it comes to accessing third level. In its own right Traveller culture is somewhat at odds with mainstream education but the problem actually lies in the inability of the education system to fully embrace all forms of cultural diversity. Essentially, Irish society is increasingly intent on controlling diversity as illustrated by the exclusion of our own indigenous ethnic minority and by our xenophobic attitudes to immigrants.

It seems that there is little room for the plights of minority groups in the economic driven 21st century Ireland we now live in. Realistically, most minority groups such as Travellers, face little chance of experiencing true equality in a heedless society that puts economics before equality. However, a resistance movement has been gathering steam. The movement for Travellers civil rights has gained much strength and confidence over the past decade with organisations such as the Irish Traveller Movement (ITM) actively campaigning with the view that education is a vital catalyst in their struggle.

Ridiculous suggestions about the privatization of our education system alongside the danger of Universities espousing the doctrines of `international competition', will undoubtedly further marginalise those who already suffer exclusion. Viewing education in purely economic terms and the promotion of a conveyor belt education system means that the necessary social programmes needed to combat educational disadvantage take second place on the list of priorities. If diversity is a vital component of a healthy, vibrant and socially conscious nation, then the exclusion of any one group from Irish society is a shame we must collectively share.

Travellers are an indigenous ethnic minority who, historical sources confirm, have been part of Irish society for centuries. Travellers ethnicity stems from their long shared history, cultural values, language, customs and traditions make them a self-defined group, and one which is recognisable and distinct. Their culture and way of life, of which nomadism is an important factor, distinguishes them from the sedentary (settled) population.

There are an estimated 25,000 Travellers in Ireland, making up more than 4,485 Traveller families. This constitutes approximately 0.5% of the total national population. It is estimated that an additional 15,000 Irish Travellers live in Britain, with a further 10,000 Travellers of Irish descent living in the United States of America.

Travellers, as individuals and as a group, experience a high level of prejudice and exclusion in Irish society. Many have to endure living in intolerable conditions, with approximately one third having to live without access to the basic facilities of sanitation, water and electricity. This leads to ongoing health problems among the Traveller community. A report of the Health Research Board (1987) revealed that Traveller men live, on average, 10 years less than settled men, while Traveller women live on average 12 years less than their settled peers. Discrimination and its effects are a daily feature of Travellers lives.


Check out the following links for some more information on Travellers:.

Irish Traveller Movement
A history of Travellers fighting back for themselves.
The Life of Breda, an interview with a traveller woman.
How the new Public Order Act is to be used against travellers
Pavee Point: a traveller community initiative

author by Deirdre Clancypublication date Wed Mar 03, 2004 14:23Report this post to the editors

It is good to see a feature here with depth, and backed up with factual information and proper argumentation.

author by Al - Organise!publication date Wed Mar 03, 2004 19:19author address http://www.organiseireland.orgReport this post to the editors

There have been major protests against welfare cuts in Slovakia. For more info, use the link below

Al

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3520773.stm

author by Brenda Carroll, - The Waterford Subla Centrepublication date Mon Sep 13, 2004 14:40author email subla at eircom dot netauthor address Unit 44 Tycor Business Centre, Tycor Waterfordauthor phone 051 352990Report this post to the editors

Really enjoyed the article, As some one who runs a Training Centre for Young Travellers males, it was great to see some media coverage, Trying to counteract the effects that our society and our educational system has had on young traveller males is a uphill battle ! It's good to know that people are being made aware of the situation. Those of us who work on the ground are often just too overworked to have time to let people know just how appalling the situation is and just how bleak the future is for the majority of young traveller males.

author by pedropublication date Mon Sep 13, 2004 14:43Report this post to the editors

I disagree on one point. Free education is costly to the tax payer but is very worthwhile. Its there for EVERYONE to avail of.

author by Mark Cpublication date Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:27Report this post to the editors

Free Education also allows richer people to use the money that would have been spent on "education" to be spent on grinds and this in turn may perpetuate the system that free education seeks to destroy. It's not something I necessarily agree with but it can be seen as a valid criticism. There are other reason for educational disadvantage.

http://www.cpa.ie/publications/povertybriefings/Briefin...3.pdf

Mark.

 
© 2001-2014 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy