Independent Senator Eileen Flynn has become the first Traveller to be elected as chair of an Oireachtas committee on key issues affecting the Traveller Community.
Senator Flynn, who lives in Ardara, was elected to the role at the committee’s first meeting in Leinster House on Thursday.
The Joint Committee has 14 members: nine Deputies and five Senators.
Senator Flynn has already made history in government by becoming the first member of the Traveller Community to be appointed to the Seanad.
Speaking after her election, Senator Flynn thanked her colleagues and former Senator Colette Kelleher for her work as Chair during the 32rd Dáil and 25th Seanad.
Senator Flynn added: “I would also like to thank the Ceann Comhairle for setting up this special committee. We look forward to tackling some of the inequalities and issues that impact on the Traveller Community.”
The key issues affecting the Traveller Community, and which will be considered by this committee are:
- Health: Physical and mental health (including suicide levels);
- Education: School completion rates and educational attainment;
- Employment: Labour market participation rate (Traveller unemployment rate is 80%);
- Housing: Access to housing and accommodation, in the context of the high homelessness rate among Travellers.