Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee On Key Issues Affecting The Traveller Community
Traveller Mental Health: Discussion (Resumed)
Mr. Thomas McCann:
The point the Deputy makes about Travellers voting is an important one. Historically, Travellers have been excluded and it was difficult for many Travellers to vote in local areas for a long time. In addition to them having been excluded from that vote, there was educational disadvantage when they went to get support around voting much of the time. There is that history of Travellers.
On top of that, it is a community that does not believe that the political system is working in its interests when it sees local politicians coming out against it and objecting, and at times national figures coming out, such as during the presidential election. There are many people who are supportive in there as well.
There is an apathy about voting.
That exists among sections of the settled population also. As Ms Kelly said, Traveller organisations on the ground are trying to encourage Travellers to register to vote, vote and engage with local politicians. Most of the local Traveller organisations are trying to do that but they need support from the political system. The political system gives many communities support on political engagement and ensuring Travellers' voices are heard, including through registering to vote.