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Recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group

The Minister for Justice & Equality, Alan Shatter, told Gerald Nash (Lab, Louth) that the Traveller Policy Division of his department had held discussions with five national Traveller groups about the issue of the recognition of the Traveller community as an ethnic minority and it had also been the subject of extensive discussions at meetings of the National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee (Dail Eireann, Debates, 3rd May 2011, 280).  These discussions had shown that there was a wide divergence of views among Irish Travellers on the issue of ethnicity.  There was a need, he said, for discussions to take place on this in the Traveller community and full consideration given to the implications. A decision to to do would have no domestic legal significance as Travellers were already specifically identified for legal protection under anti-discrimination laws.