A public meeting on the accommodation needs of Travellers in Galway will be held next week.
The Galway Traveller Movement and the Galway Anti Racism Network are organising the event at the Connacht Hotel next Tuesday, 21 March at 7pm.
The event will mark International Day Against Racism and will feature presentations on both the history of Travellers in Galway and the fight for culturally-appropriate accommodation.
According to organisers, the meeting was influenced by recent events at City Council level.
Bridget Kelly, Community Development Worker for the Galway Traveller Movement explained: "In the same week our ethnicity was finally recognised, City Councillors continued to use discriminatory language against the Traveller community. Council meetings on the provision of accommodation for Traveller families lack any input from the families concerned and always end up frustrating the issue further. With this public meeting, we want to reach out to the wider population for their support."
Joanna Corcoran, Community Employment Supervisor for the Galway Traveller Movement added: "It is hoped with this public meeting that we can unite Travellers and the settled population in their accommodation demands. We have seen over the last few months how the needs of different communities have been pitted against each other; meetings organised in both the west and the east of the city that have done little to ease tensions. We need a united approach."
Joe Loughnane, Chairman of the Galway Anti Racism Network also commented, "Galway is currently the European Capital of Culture yet you have City Councillors wanting to amend the Traveller Accommodation Act so that the one culturally-appropriate option for Travellers is removed. Travellers are forced to become yet another group exploited by the private rental sector due to the failure to provide any permanent halting sites and the lack of maintenance of ones currently existing. GARN stands with the Traveller community in Galway and we hope this public meeting will extend more solidarity their way."
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