Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Eileen Flynn. National Women's Council of Ireland
eileen flynn

'I have to pinch myself': Eileen Flynn on becoming the first female Traveller in the Oireachtas

Flynn was one of Micheál Martin’s nominees to the Seanad.

TRAVELLER ACTIVIST AND now soon-to-be senator Eileen Flynn has described the moment she received a phone call from Taoiseach Micheál Martin informing her that she had been chosen as one of his 11 nominees to the Seanad. 

Flynn has campaigned on anti-racism issues, marriage equality, housing and abortion rights and will be the first female Traveller in the Oireachtas. 

Speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Flynn said that she hopes to go on and make a positive impact for communities across Ireland which are underrepresented. 

But the moment she received a call from the Taoiseach is one she will never forget. 

She explained: “I got a phone call from Taoiseach Micheál Martin and it was the most amazing call I’ve got in my life. I wasn’t too sure if I was going to get it or not but to be nominated was just phenomenal.”

Tweet by @Eileen Ní Fhloinn Eileen Ní Fhloinn / Twitter Eileen Ní Fhloinn / Twitter / Twitter

Flynn described how she wants to be someone who helps bring about change for the Traveller community in Ireland and to show young women what can be done through perseverance. 

She said she wants to bring in members of underrepresented communities, such as refugees and the black community, and to have them speak for themselves instead of speaking on their behalf. 

“I’d love to see hate crime legislation in Ireland, we do not have it. I’ll be working with black people, migrants, refugees, Travellers. I’d like to work with those people, those who don’t fit into boxes,” she added.

Flynn said that there are many obstacles put in the way for people from these communities. She added: “Young people in Ballyfermot wouldn’t have the same opportunities as those in Blackrock or Foxrock.” 

“I hope young Traveller women will look up and say life is hard but if you keep at it and if you believe in a young person they might go on to be something they never imagined.”

Speaking about her first day ahead of her in the Seanad, Flynn joked: “I woke up this morning and said ‘Oh, God, what am I going to do’. I have to pinch myself. But I will go in there and I’ll be a voice for equality and I will do my best.”

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
91
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel