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Social Landscape : Irish Travellers

michele zousmer | Ireland, Ireland

Organization: michele zousmer photography

Reminiscing about her life. Mother of 12.

I just returned home from Ireland visiting the Irish Travellers.  I came home disheartened and sad. 

Travellers are the subject of political and cultural discrimination.Refused services in shops, hotels, and pubs.   Equality in education was offered to a new generation of Travellers,  but has not worked.  A Traveller does not get hired.  When the government started to house Travellers the settled community didn’t want them as neighbors, concerned their property values would go down.  Research states there is 81% domestic violence and that Irish Traveller women commit suicide 7% higher than others in Ireland. 

Irish Travellers live together on halting sites designated by the government.   It is not unusual to see caravans parked in front of government houses and both lived in.    Running water, electricity and proper sanitation is rare.  I spoke to families who have lived their entire lives without these basic human rights.

Both the Travellers and the ‘settled’ need to address their thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors that are causing this separatism. Longtime misconceptions between them need to be addressed.  Promoting an environment where racism can be challenged needs to be created. 

When I see something I feel is unfair through my lens I cannot help but make a statement. Traveling the world and meeting people of different cultures has opened my mind and my heart.  I believe an image can create emotion, curiosity, compassion and a sense of humanity. I hope to create conversation about our global diversity. 





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