The Donegal Travellers Project (DTP) has welcomed the new National Action Plan Against Racism as a positive step to promoting interculturalism and anti-racism.
DTP members attended the launch of the first national plan against racism in more than a decade at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.
An event was also held at the Donegal Intercultural Platform centre in Letterkenny yesterday to mark International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The action plan, to run over five years to 2027 includes commitments to tackle ethnic profiling by Gardaí, discrimination in the private rental sector and promote inclusion of minorities across Ireland.
Ann Friel, Manager with DTP says “the launch of this plan will create opportunities to make a real and meaningful difference to the lives and experiences of Ethnic Minorities including Traveller and Roma communities living in Donegal and is welcomed by our organisation and those involved in promoting interculturalism and anti-racism.”
Ann goes on to say that Traveller organisations across the country welcome the inclusion of the Traveller community in the National Action Plan Against Racism and the acknowledgement that Travellers experience racism and discrimination in Ireland. Racism can be both individual and institutional and can be on purpose to hurt or to promote fear and hate. “The impact of racism on ethnic minorities can be so damaging to self-confidence, your sense of worth and your sense of belonging in any area,” Ms Friel said.
The National Action Plan Against Racism will provide us with a clear framework for the implementation and monitoring of the actions and will support DTP in working towards better outcomes for the Traveller and Roma communities particularly in the areas of health, education, employment and access to both public and private services.
“This plan is long overdue,” says Hugh Friel, Roma Health Coordinator with DTP. “It is a clear pathway to respond and eliminate racism both structurally and individually and begin to tackle ethnic profiling that continues to exist in our society”.
Hugh added: “this plan will begin to address the intersectionality of racism and we welcome the standard ethnic classification system to enable ethnic equality proofing and monitoring of state policies, budget and programming.”
Pamela Boyle, Family Links worker with DTP says that “this anti-racism plan is so important to the lives of Traveller and Roma children and young people so that they can grow up to feel included and valued and know that Ireland is a place where racism will no longer be accepted and that it is the policy of the state.”
Siobhan Mc Laughlin, Project Manager, stated that DTP has worked in solidarity, both locally and nationally, with NGO’s committed to promoting diversity and interculturalism and has also participated in the public consultation to inform the plan.
Siobhan attended and welcomed the launch of the plan and hopes that there are resources allocated to promoting diversity and the inclusion of Black Minority Ethnic communities including Travellers and Roma and a commitment to Human rights for minority communities. A plan has meaning and impact when adequate resources and implementation is delivered on not just spoken about.
In the words of Maya Angelou ‘Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the futures, and renders the present inaccessible.”