Saint Louis University Public Law Review


This paper explores and defends Irish Travellers’ efforts to push the Republic of Ireland to recognize them as an ethnic minority group under law. Irish Travellers are a small indigenous minority group who have lived primarily in Ireland for centuries. They rank at the bottom of Irish society in rates of poverty, unemployment, life expectancy, infant mortality, health, education levels, political representation and access, and living conditions. Much like the Roma, with whom they share a nomadic tradition, Irish Travellers are in the midst of a movement to improve living conditions, fight widespread discrimination, and gain recognition as an ethnic minority group. Such recognition has important implications for their treatment under international and national law. In this paper, I compare the legal status of Irish Travellers under the laws of the Republic of Ireland with their status in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. Then I consider the history of Travellers’ legal status in the Republic’s domestic policies and Travellers’ efforts at recognition through international law documents. Finally, I discuss the challenges and opportunities Irish Travellers’ rights activists face in the continued movement for recognition.

Included in

Law Commons