Minceirs Whiden (Can’t for Travellers talking) Ireland’s only all Traveller forum was established in 2004 with the aims of. Creating a safe place that Travellers could come together and discuss the issues affecting our community, where Travellers could build a collective strategy to address these issues.
Key objectives of Minceirs Whiden is to;
- Promote an understanding of Traveller History, Culture, and Ethnic Identity.
- To Unite Travellers promote a collective Traveller Voice and a Political Platform for Traveller Community.
- To work in solidarity with other nomadic and excluded groups nationally and internationally. Work in the spirit of co-operation and solidarity with other Traveller groups and organisation to bring about better outcomes for the Traveller community.
After decades of societal tolerance of anti-Traveller bias and racism, negative stereotyping and discrimination, the resulted in the Traveller community experience extreme inequality in life expectancy, health, accommodation, education & employment.
Our community is in Crisis where many see no future, this is evident in the high levels of depression, addiction and suicides that have crept into our community in recent decades and that is having such a devastating impact on our families and community, so too in the feuding that exists within our community. These are symptoms of oppression that can be seen mirrored in marginalised and disadvantaged communities around the world.
Traveller groups, organisations and activist- and the many people who support our community have done their best to highlight injustice inequalities the Traveller community experience and campaigned for better outcomes, sadly because Anti Traveller Bias and racism is so deeply embedded within Irish Society this has been a long painful struggle.
It important we don’t give up hope, Irish Travellers are a Strong Proud People, despite unbelievable odds and adversity, inequality and injustices we held on to our Traveller identity while still contributing so much to Irish Society. By working together and using all the tools available to us we can and will come through these current challenges & Crisis.
Irish Traveller Political Participation is one of these tools
To make real change happen we need to get the Traveller voice heard within the political arena where policy decisions that directly impact The Traveller Community are made and implemented in, that’s Local and National Government by Elected Local County Councilors and Government Ministers.
Every person in the country that has the right to vote, should vote, this our say in choosing who governs us. These are the people making decisions that affect us, it is important we elect people who represent us, people that understand our needs and champions our cause, that works towards equality and justice for all.
At its heart, the key role of Government is to manage the resources of the country and make decisions that are in the best interest of the country and all its people.
For too long addressing and resolving the needs of our community has not been on the agenda in any meaningful way. It’s time for that to change!!!
Over the past number of years much of Minceirs Whiden’s worked has focused highlighting the importance of Political Participation for the Traveller Community, as a community turning our back on the political system, choosing not to Vote is not doing us any good, we need to change tack here and start using our Votes to influence change.
There is no community in Ireland that has been so deeply and negatively impacted by political decisions or political inactions as our community examples;
- 1963 Itinerancy Report,
- Anti-Trespass Law,
- The failures to implement Local Traveller Accommodation plan even though our government recognised Traveller accommodation was in Crisis in 1998, 20 years later that crisis is worse, while local authorities fail to deliver on their Traveller Accommodation Plans & Budgets go unused.