The Law Society of Ireland reiterates its call on the State to reinstate the Irish Traveller Movement Independent Law Centre, which ceased in 2014, to “reduce inequality and advance human rights for the Traveller community” in Ireland.
The Law Society has made this call on several occasions in the past, most recently in a submission to the Dept. of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on Ireland’s Third National Report to the UN Universal Periodic Review 2021.
Today marks UN International Human Rights Day, and this year the emphasis is on reducing inequalities and advancing human rights. Ireland is currently serving a two-year term on the UN Security Council and has been laudably using its membership to highlight international human rights issues.
According to Gary Lee, chair of the Law Society’s Human Rights and Equality Committee, there is a “serious unmet legal need within the Traveller community in relation to the provision of legal advice and representation on matters particular to Travellers.”
“The failure of the State to resource an independent law centre specifically to meet the unique needs of the Traveller community makes it far more difficult for Travellers to access justice,” Mr Lee explained.
“You can have a plethora of legal rights, but this is no good if you don’t know about your rights and if you don’t have expert legal advice in relation to those rights. To reduce inequality and advance human rights for the Traveller community, that community needs access to justice.”
“Today, on International Human Rights Day, we call on the State to reinstate the Irish Traveller Movement Law Centre and to support its sustainability with the necessary funding to ensure that adequate and appropriate legal services are provided which address the specific needs of the Traveller community. By doing so the State will be sending out a strong message that it is committed to protecting and vindicating the rights of minorities,” Mr Lee said.
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