Bill to include Traveller culture in school curriculum before Seanad

Kelleher says legislation will help make schools more welcoming to Travellers

Seanad leader Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer said he would accept the Bill initiated by Senator Collette Kelleher. File photograph: Eric Luke

Seanad leader Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer said he would accept the Bill initiated by Senator Collette Kelleher. File photograph: Eric Luke

 

The Government has accepted the introduction of legislation which will provide for Traveller culture and history to be included in the mainstream school curriculum.

Independent Senator Collette Kelleher sought leave to introduce the Traveller Culture and Education Bill.

Ms Kelleher told the Seanad that the Bill would go some way to make schools a more conducive environment for young Travellers.

She said only 9 per cent of young adults between 24 and 35 with a Traveller background had completed the leaving certificate examination compared with 86 per cent6 of the mainstream population.

“Therefore, making Traveller culture and education part of schooling would go some way to make schools a more welcoming environment. The legislation would also provide important checks and balances to counter the prejudice and hate speech that Travellers often experience on a daily basis.”

She said including Traveller culture and history in the mainstream school curriculum would be an “important first legislative inclusion since the recognition of Traveller ethnic minority status by the then taoiseach Enda Kenny”.

The legislation would involve amending the 1998 Education Act.

Seanad leader Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer said he would accept the Bill, which he described as an important piece of legislation and he commended Ms Kelleher for her work on the issue.