You will have heard by now that the Labour Party voted at their recent conference in Killarney to call on the state to recognise Traveller Ethnicity within 12 months.
The ITM would like to acknowledge the work that went into having this motion (a) brought (b) carried, from the work of our members and also supporters within the Labour Party. This is a further step in the direction of having Travellers’ ethnicity recognised and is built on the work of so many people over the last 23 years- and specifically work members, Central Group and staff have undertaken since the ethnicity petition began in 2008.
The ethnicity campaign has been, and will continue to be, the tireless struggle of a collective and when ethnicity is achieved the work of countless people will need to be recognised for their years of bringing this issue forward at a local, national and international level.
In relation to the Labour party motion the work of several people needs to be highlighted. Siobhan Mc Laughlin, Donegal Travellers Project, brought the motion to the Labour Equality subgroup. Jenni Gartland, Labour Equality, Aodhan O Riordan TD and Senator Ivanna Bacick championed the motion and have been huge supporters of ITM and Travellers’ rights. Susan Fay of the ITM Law Centre also spoke in favour of the motion. Brigid Quilligan, Director ITM, Catherine Joyce, Coordinator of Blanchardstown Development Group and Chair of ITM and Martin Collins, Pavee Point all lobbied Labour delegates tirelessly over the weekend in order that Labour party members knew how important this issue was to Travellers.
Many other people played a role in making this happen, including Leah O Leary, solicitor, ITM Law Centre, and Jacinta Brack, ITM Public Relations Manager
We also need to recognise the impact the political lobbying that Travellers and Traveller Groups have undertaken in relation to ethnicity over the last 2 years in making ethnicity an issue for Labour Party members (councillors and TDs). Traveller ethnicity is now on the agenda and in the minds of Labour party members and we need to continue to build links locally with Labour TDs / Minsters while Traveller issues are fresh to them.