Nasc launches report on Roma community in Ireland

Thu, May 30, 2013

On the 28th of May, Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, launched its latest report: ‘In from the Margins – Roma in Ireland: Addressing the Structural Discrimination of the Roma Community in Ireland.’ The launch took place in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin.

IMG_1346The report looks at the legislative and policy frameworks in the EU and Ireland to examine their effectiveness in tackling discrimination and promoting equality. The report identifies the often subtle and complex barriers to integration that Roma experience and critically assesses whether Ireland’s progressive equality legislation adequately addresses the discrimination of vulnerable minorities.

Fiona Finn, CEO of Nasc, spoke on where the impetus for the report came from, stating that it was engagement with the Roma community in Nasc’s legal clinics that had initially uncovered the extremely high levels of structural discrimination. Also speaking at the event were Dr. Bernard Rourke, Research and Advocacy Director, Roma Initiatives Office, Open Society Institute and Dr. Judy Walsh, Director of the Equality Studies Research Centre, UCD School of Justice. Kieran O’Reilly of the European Roma Rights Centre also spoke on the role of NGOs in advocating for Roma rights. Report author and Nasc Roma Rights Officer Claire Larkin presented the findings and recommendations of the report, and Roma advocate Greucean Adam spoke about his experience as a Roma migrant in Cork and his efforts to raise awareness about his community and the issues they face.

Both Dr. Rorke and Dr. Walsh welcomed the report, calling it ‘very timely’ and ‘important’. Dr. Walsh described the report as ‘chilling reading’ that ‘fills a major knowledge gap’, stating that is was a significant contribution to the equality agenda in Ireland. Dr. Rorke emphasised that the focus on structural discrimination was an incredibly important and timely contribution to understanding the situation of the Roma, stating that Ireland could take the lead in Europe in integrating the Roma community.

Roma Rights Officer Claire Larkin said of the report launch:

“We were very happy with the event and the support from the public, from other NGOs, from politicians and particularly from representatives in various agencies who came and engaged with the issues we raise about this very marginalised community. We are looking forward to meeting with politicians and policymakers in the future to push for the very feasible reforms suggested in the report.”

The report can be downloaded here.

For news coverage see the Irish Times article here and RTÉ Radio’s Drivetime. Additional coverage of the report can be heard on NearFM and LMFM. For more information about the report and about Nasc’s Roma Rights work, go to our Campaign page.