STSG - Sligo Traveller Support Group

Travellers and Work

The Mainstream Labour Market

According to the 'Multiple Disadvantage in Ireland' (Economic and Social Research Institute; April 2012) study, 74% of Travellers aged 25-44 are unemployed, and 67% of Travellers aged 45-64 are unemployed .

In 2001, Pavee Point published a piece of research entitled "Job Vacancies...Vacant Jobs (Traveller Inclusion in the Mainstream Labour Market)".

The key issues highlighted by the research were:


As the above figures indicate, a pro-active approach is necessary on behalf of employers to include Travellers in the labour market. The Irish Civil Service Commission, for example, recently targeted Travellers in an outreach project to encourage Travellers to sit civil service exams.Ten Travellers went on to complete this exam.

The publication is available to purchase here.


The Traveller Economy

The 'Traveller Economy' is the term used to describe work the Travellers initiate themselves. Scrap metal recycling, market trading and horse dealing would be examples of this type of work. The most important point to note about the Traveller economy is how the work is organised. The key features are:


Barriers and challenges facing the Traveller Economy stem from a lack of recognition of the skills acquired through this way of working and its contribution to the mainstream economy. The lack of acknowledgement of Traveller culture within public policy results in both direct and indirect discrimination (see Racism & Equality Factsheet). For example, changes in the law on street trading and horse ownership had a particularly adverse effect on the economic life of Travellers in comparison with other groups.


Developing Other Responses

Traveller organisations and other locally based initiatives have developed employment opportunities for Travellers. These include youth and community work; childcare and class room assistants and in particular primary health care. A number of Traveller organisations also supported the establishment of enterprises through which Travellers progressed on from training courses into employment.



Government cutbacks in Community Employment, Jobs Initiatives and FAS Training Schemes have had a devastating effect on these responses. Cutbacks in the Government Community Development Support Programme are also having negative impacts on jobs in the community.






Multiple Disadvantages in Ireland (April 2012)

Address: STSG, 1A St Annes, Cranmore Road, Sligo
Tel: (071) 9145780
Fax: (071) 9145782

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