"I feel better in myself
after talking to the counsellor"


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Published on November 12th, 2012 | by Archon

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The Traveller Community in Ireland

The Irish Traveller community is an ethnic minority who account for approximately 0.5% of the Irish population.  As a community, Travellers have their own separate culture,  with its own traditions, language, practical skills, culture, arts and music, with distinctive patterns of living (e.g. nomadism, keeping of horses) and strong values built around families, care and extended families. The situation of Travellers is a difficult one, with the Traveller community’s traditional way of life, nomadism and distinctive economy affected by rapid economic and social change.

As a community, Travellers have experienced extreme levels of racism, discrimination and social exclusion.  Travellers are amongst the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups in Irish society today, if not the most.  As a community, they fare badly on every indicator used to measure disadvantage; unemployment, poverty, social exclusion, health status, infant mortality, life expectancy, illiteracy, formal education and training levels.

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    “As manager of the organisation, I have seen the impact since the local counselling service was set up some years now. The taboo that Travellers always had in relation to counselling is no longer there.”

    “Our clients have said that they do feel the benefit of using the service for a number of reasons. Before they did not understand counselling or what it was for, and to be able to talk to someone about their problems and issues, whether it be drug related or not, in a "safe and confidential environment" is key.”

    (Jim O’Brien, Manager, Bray Traveller’s Community Development Group Ltd.)


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