DUBLIN — Years after Ireland recovered from a severe economic crisis, the government has done little to aid the most vulnerable groups in society, especially the historically excluded Traveler minority, Europe’s top human rights body said on Wednesday.
In a report based on findings from his visit to Ireland in 2016, Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, urged the Irish government to provide more support to the Travelers — who experience discrimination in education, employment and housing — as well as to women and children in general.
“The Irish government should ensure that the economic upturn benefits the most vulnerable groups and should promote equality of Travelers, women and children by removing the barriers that disproportionately hinder them from fully enjoying their rights,” Mr. Muiznieks wrote.
Ireland’s 2008 economic downturn, and the ensuing austerity measures, brought drastic cuts to state budgets in areas like health, education and housing. The cuts had a far harsher impact on poor and disadvantaged groups than the general population, according to Irish human rights groups.
Mr. Muiznieks said that during his visit over three days in November, he saw evidence of the return of economic growth, but that many people had “not yet started to benefit from the recovery and were still experiencing longstanding difficulties and the negative impact of budgetary cuts.”
The commissioner singled out the Travelers, emphasizing the “urgent need for the Irish authorities to reinvest in this community.”