Our names are Dr Sindy Joyce (post-doctoral researcher), Margaret O’ Brien (peer-researcher) and Olive O’ Reilly (peer researcher), we are Travellers/Mincéirs and are currently working with Professor Amanda Haynes and Dr Jennifer Schweppe carrying out a research study at the University of Limerick. This project has been funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Irish Research Council.
The name of the research project is ‘Irish Travellers Access to Justice’. By the end of this study, we hope to have a better understanding of the relationships between our community and the Gardaí and courts system.
Evidence from research done by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency has shown that Irish Travellers are more likely to be stopped and searched than the general white Irish Settled population. Also, the Independent Expert for the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Mr Murillo Martinez, stated that "The high number of Travellers in prison, especially women and children is clearly racial profiling".
We want to find out how you feel about the police and the courts in Ireland.
Do you think you are treated fairly by the guards and the courts?
What are your experiences?
The most important part of this research will be hearing the voices of Travellers on the ground. Without your stories and opinions, we cannot gather the evidence that is needed to show the truth of our everyday experiences with the guards and the courts. We will interview Travellers, including those living in standard housing, halting sites (both official and unofficial), group housing schemes, yards, and on the side of the road, etc. These interviews will take place over the phone or by video calls with members of the research team and will take about one hour. Although we would have liked to do these interviews face to face, due to Covid-19 restrictions we cannot travel around to the various parts of the country to interview people. We really need to hear your story.
We are also going to interview people working in national and local Traveller organisations, particularly those who work directly with or on behalf of individuals and families that have had or are having ongoing experiences with the guards and the criminal courts system. Later, in the project, we will also be doing some focus groups with Travellers who have a disability, older Travellers, young Travellers, LGBTQI+ Travellers, etc.
We will NOT be sharing any of your personal information, like your name, at any stage to anyone. This means that no-one will be able to tell who you are or even that you took part in the research.
For us, as Travellers conducting this research in collaboration with the University of Limerick, we completely understand our community’s privacy, respect and dignity while doing these interviews. It is important for us that this research is Traveller led and the voices of Travellers on the ground are heard loud and clear. We hope to have the support of our community, and we look forward to your important contribution.