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Only 8% of working-age Travellers have completed the Leaving Cert

The level of educational disadvantage has been laid out in a new report.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

FEWER THAN ONE in 10 Travellers aged 25-34 have completed the Leaving Cert and second-level education according to new research.

The stats come from a new project by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) which examines the disadvantages experienced by members of the Travelling community in education, employment, housing and health.

Based on analysis of the 2011 Census, the ESRI found that Travellers are far more likely to leave school early than non-Travellers.

Among the 25-34 age group, 9% of Travellers have completed the Leaving Cert compared to 86% of non-Travellers.

That gap is even wider than among the larger ‘working age’ group, suggesting that Travellers have benefited less from the greater access to education since the 1960s.

Census figures show that among 18-64 year-olds, 8% of Travellers have completed second-level education compared to 73% of non-Travellers.

The research also shows how education can affect employment, with Travellers being far more likely to be employed if they have higher levels of education.

Among all people aged 25-64, 66% of non-Travellers are in employment compared to 11% of Travellers, a ratio of 6:1.

Among Travellers and non-Travellers who have similar levels of education, however, the gap in employment is much lower, at a ratio of less than 2:1.

“The results highlighted the significance of education,” according to the report’s author Dorothy Watson.

Both the extent of the educational disadvantage of Travellers and the importance of education in enabling them to move out of unemployment and poverty.

90398305_90398305 Travellers protest outside Leinster House in Dublin. Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Health and housing

The report also looks at Traveller health and living arrangements and found that the nomadic lifestyle associated with the community is far from the norm.

The research found that just 12% of people who describe themselves as a Traveller live in a caravan or mobile home. Almost nine out of 10 (88%) of Travellers live in what the ESRI describes as “standard accommodation”.

That accommodation is more likely, however, to lack facilities such as central heating (13%), piped water (18%) and sewerage facilities (29%).

More than nine in 10 Traveller homes also lack internet access.

A Social Portrait of Travellers in Ireland

The findings of the report are set to be discussed at a day-long event hosted by the ESRI today.

The authors of the report and government representatives will be joined by Martin Collins of Traveller development group Pavee Point and Anastasia Crickley of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Minister of State in the Department of Justice David Stanton has said that the report is especially timely as the government is developing the new Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy.

“It draws attention in unequivocal terms to the poor outcomes and conditions in terms of education, health, employment and accommodation that Travellers face,” Stanton said ahead of today’s meeting.

We need a sustained effort in partnership between all relevant departments and agencies and the Traveller community to ensure that these failures are addressed and that Travellers can enjoy the same quality of life as others in our society.

Read: Traveller family launches legal action for Clare County Council to give them accommodation >

Read: Move to recognise Traveller ethnicity after long campaign shows ‘Ireland’s commitment to human rights’ >

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Rónán Duffy

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