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Traveller Community

UCC takes racism and racial incidents very seriously and aims to create a campus free from such occurances.  To this end, a number of initiatives have been launched.

Since 2018, UCC has been running in-house Race Consciousness workshops and @AdvancceHE RaLet’s talk about Racece Equality training and now has online Let’s Talk About Race training available to all staff.  Complete our online Race Equality Training here.

UCC established the first Race Equality Forum in an Irish HEI in 2019 with the purpose of listening to Black, Brown and Ethnic Minority staff and students, learning from their experiences and ensuring UCC a welcoming space. 

In 2022, UCC launched Speak Out on campus, a national anonymous online platform to report any and all incidents of bullying, harassment and discrimination, including racism and racial incidents.

Since its inception, many members of the Traveller Community have completed the Leadership in the Community programme with ACE, better equipping participants to provide effective leadership for their own community and within the voluntary sector. See here: 

The Traveller Equality and Justice Project is an innovative collaborative project between the School of Law, the CCJHR and FLAC. It aims to highlight ongoing levels of discrimination experienced by Travellers in Cork and Kerry.  The TEJP has established Munster’s first Traveller-specific legal clinic, providing access to justice for Travellers who have experienced discrimination.  For more details see:

The Glucksman Gallery's Creative Agency project aims to empower young asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to participate in imaginative projects that enable them to present their voices and views in the public realm. 

And modules such as SC2066 Race, Ethnicity, Migration and Nationalism help embed this into the curriculum here in UCC.

“Irish Travellers have been documented as being part of Irish society for centuries.  Travellers have a long shared history, traditions, language, culture and customs.

The distinctive Traveller identity and culture, based on a nomadic tradition, sets Travellers apart from the sedentary population or ‘settled people’.

Accepting, resourcing and celebrating Traveller identity, culture and heritage is a central element in any strategy to counter discrimination and the exclusion and marginalisation of Travellers.” (Pavee Point)

Since the first of the Equal Status Acts in 2000 and Employment Equality Acts 1998, it has been illegal to discriminate on the basis that someone is a member of the Traveller Community.

On the 1st March 2017, then Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in the Dáil, made a Statement of Recognition of Travellers as an Ethnic Group.  The full text can be read here.  Working closely with Minceirs Whidden and other Traveller representative groups, the government came together with the Traveller community to have their unique heritage, culture and identify formally recognised by the Irish State.

Traveller Ally Award

In February 2022, UCC was delighted to received an inaugural Taravller Ally award from Cork Traveller Women's Network and Cork Traveller Visibility Group.

More information here.

Members of Cork Traveller Community with President John O'Halloran

Leadership in the Community

The Leadership in the Community course was developed as a one-year part-time Level 6 course year with the aim of delivering the programme to a group of 27 women from the Irish Travelling Community.  This was commenced in 2019/2020.  This programme was a collaborative effort between UCC’s Adult Continuing Education, Access and Participation, and School of Applied Social Studies as well as a variety of Traveller organisations including the Southern Traveller Health Network, Traveller Visibility Group, Travellers of North Cork organisation and a variety of Irish Traveller organisations. The team successfully developed a programme that would reflect the needs and wants of the students. Twenty seven women of the Irish Travelling Community participated in the programme. The course was held on two consecutive mornings a week. Students attended an additional study morning in their local Traveller organisation. In advance of the course commencing, the traveller organisations prepared the women for their entry into third level education. The students were included in the development of the programme in order to ensure that they could identify their needs and aspirations.

Due to the nature of the programme, the team constantly work towards creating an inclusive educational environment for the student cohort. Establishing a trusting relationship between the Traveller organisation and non-Traveller stakeholders was vital for ensuring access for the Traveller women on this course. Cultural awareness is a core part of building a successful relationship and implementing initiatives that support capabilities. A working partnership between the University and the Traveller organisation ensured the most culturally appropriate model was established. This partnership proved to be extremely successful and due to positive feedback from the students, the programme team developed a second year of the programme which was aligned to a Level 7 Diploma in Leadership in the Community. The team updated the modules to focus upon the Irish Travelling Community. The second year of this programme has been delivered over the 2020/2021 academic year.

The programme team are aware of the challenges that the women of the travelling community face on a daily basis. The programme team is made up of members of the Irish Travelling Community as well as members of the settled community. The customs and traditions of the community are always at the forefront of discussions relating to programme committee decision making. The programme has been scheduled on weekday mornings to ensure that disruption to family life is minimal. Classes have been held in an outreach venue that is accessible for all students. The programme timetable has also taken the culture of the women into account by avoiding holding classes on the times when the community tend to travel.

Through feedback in a programme evaluation, many of the women believed their engagement in the course was having a positive effect on their children’s engagement in school and their future aspirations.

I think you bringing back what you have learnt, it helps you with your children then as well. You know if they see you going out in the morning, they’re saying if mommy can do it… why can’t I do it?" (Quote from focus group)

I think it was a good message to send out to our children. Education is this important, that I went back” (Quote from focus group)

The feedback from the women on the programme highlights how the programme has created a culture of Lifelong Learning within the families of the students.

For more information on course see 

Traveller Equality and Justice Project

The Traveller Equality and Justice Project (TEJP) is an innovative collaborative project between UCC School of Law and the Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC). It aims to highlight ongoing levels of discrimination experienced by Travellers in Cork and Kerry.  The TEJP has established Munster’s first Traveller-specific legal clinic, providing access to justice for Travellers who have experienced discrimination. For more details see: 

Race Equality Forum

The Race Equality Forum came into being in 2019 with the aim of listening to and learning from the experiences of staff and student of racial and ethnic minorities.

In 2020, the current co-chair of the REF, Dr Amanullah De Sondy, held Conversations on Racism, which further highlighted these experiences in Higher Education in Ireland.

Training and Education

In 2021, after a number of iterations of live and in-person Race Consciousness workshops (in-house) and externally faciliated Race Equality Awareness sessions, online Race Equality Training was made available for all staff through Canvas.

Publications & Organisations

Publications All Ireland Traveller Health Survey: Our Geels (Summary of Findings) CSO statistics 2016 survey HSE Guide: Irish Traveller Community Travelling with Austerity (Pavee Point, 2013)

Traveller Organisations Bray Travellers Community Development Group Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre Traveller Visibility Group Cork The Irish Traveller Movement

Other National Traveller Money Advice and Budgeting Service

Statement of Recognition of Travellers as an ethnic Group's_Speeches/Statement_by_An_Taoiseach_Enda_Kenny_TD_on_the_recognition_of_Travellers_as_an_ethnic_group_Dail_Eireann_1_March_2017.html

Experiencing Racism

If you have been a victim of racism, whether overt, subtle or systemic, there are resources within UCC which may be of assistance.

UCC EDI Unit: The EDI Unit is happy to advise students and staff on equality-related issues.

UCC's Duty of Respect and Right to Dignity at Work Policy provides information on recourse for staff who experience harassment and bullying in the workplace as well as setting out parameters for colegial behaviour, and the Student Charter sets out expectations for students with regard to how they should be treated as well as their own behaviour towards the staff and their fellow students.

Students and staff seeking to make a formal complaint about an equality-related issue have a range of supports, which include (as relevant):

UCC Student Advisor and Ombudsman:

UCC Campus Watch:

UCC Human Resources Business Manager (relevant to your University Area):

UCC Staff Ombudsman:

Other Supports for Staff

Employee Assistance Programme:

Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT, UCC): Email

Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU, UCC): Email

UCC Researcher Staff Association:

Other Supports for Students

First Year Experience Co-Ordinator:

First Year Student Peer Support:

Student Counselling and Development:

Student Health Centre:

Student Union Welfare Officer:

UCC Niteline Listening service Mon-Thurs 9pm-1am: 1800 32 32 42 or Chat

Ireland is fighting its own battle with racism, both overt and systemic.  Here are some articles and discussions on Irish racism.

Anti-Traveller Racism:

Title Publication Date Reference Report
Racism against Travellers 'embedded' in Irish Society RTÉ 10th June 2020  
Ireland's anti-Traveller hate speech is the respectable group prejudice Irish Times 9th June 2020  
Still 'significant discimination' towards Travellers Examiner 20th June 2019 Fourth Opinion on Ireland - CoE
Do Traveller lives matter? 6th June 2020  
Travellers urge end to racism as George Floyd buried Irish Times 9th June 2020  

INAR have published a number of articles on racism in Ireland:

Title Publication Date Reference Report
Racist Ireland indictment exposes ignorance wrapped in a threadbare shroud Kilkenny Now 9th June 2020 Origin and Integration (ESRI)
Why Black Studies Matter in ireland and responding to the Murder of George Floyd Hot Press 8th June 2020  
Group wants anti-racism laws in Ireland FM104 10th June 2020  
'You dirty black *****' - I don't want to say the word out loud Irish Times 4th June 2020  
I was a dark secret Extra 8th June 2020  
'It's not political.  It's about racism.  I was so angry.' Breaking News 9th June 2020  
People of colour in Ireland need allies 'not bystanders' Irish Times 18th June 2020  

Responding to racism guide: How to report racism and where to find help: On 4th April, ENAR Ireland launched their publication  ‘Responding to racism guide: How to report racism and where to find help’. Authored by Shane O’Curry (ENAR Ireland) and Dr Lucy Michael (Ulster University), the Racist Incident Reporting System was launched in July 2013. It allows the people, communities, and organisations of Ireland to confidentially report racism nationwide.


A microagression is defined as being a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.  The term was coined by professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970 to describe insults and dismissals which non-black Americans were witnessed inflicting on African Americans but is now applied to the casual degradation of any socially marginalised group.

Some publications on microagressions including examples and suggestions of how to respond are:

Examples of microagressions

Microagressions are a big deal...

Dear anti-racist allies: here's how to respond to microagressions

How to respond to microagressions

If you have been subjected to racism or have witnessed a racist attack, the Irish Network Against Racism has set up a confidential Racist Incident Reporting System, which:

  • enables people who experience or witness racism and/or those supporting them to do something about it and break the silence.
  • provides a national, confidential and user-friendly way to report racism from any online device.
  • is used for monitoring racism in Ireland.
  • provides evidence and data on racism in Ireland.
  • is a resource to counter an increase in racism and hardening of racist attitudes.
  • responds to the need to focus the discussion on finding solutions to racism.

This is an important data-gathering inititiative, and we encourage everyone to make use of it.

Responding to racism guide: How to report racism and where to find help: On 4th April, ENAR Ireland launched their publication  ‘Responding to racism guide: How to report racism and where to find help’. Authored by Shane O’Curry (ENAR Ireland) and Dr Lucy Michael (Ulster University), the Racist Incident Reporting System was launched in July 2013.

This article has some good suggestions what the ordinary person in the street can do to combat racism: How to be an Active Bystander when you see Casual Racism in the New York Times (October 29th 2020) by Ruth Terry.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Unit

Comhionannas, Éagsúlacht agus Ionchuimsitheacht

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