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More Cavan Travellers 'comfortable in their skin'

Story by Tom Kelly

Thursday, 5th April, 2012 9:30am

More Cavan Travellers 'comfortable in their skin'

Bernard Joyce.

Cavan has recorded the largest jump in Traveller numbers for any county in the country, but the latest census figures don't reveal the changing attitudes both towards Travellers and in the community itself.

"What is significant is that Travellers are now more willing to self-identify, there's no question of that," says Bernard Joyce, the county's regional community development officer for the Irish Traveller Movement.

"People are more aware and conscious of the Travelling Community now and Travellers are taking pride in their culture and their way of life and more feel comfortable in their own skin.

"In the past, as well, Travellers might not have been as aware of the census or they might have had more literacy problems in that the form might have been a task in itself, some might not have been able to answer all the questions in it.

"So it shows that people living in Cavan are perhaps more comfortable in their own skin."

However Bernard streses that prejudice is still a factor and the lastest census could still understate the number of Travellers in Cavan.

"There's still significant opposition to Travellers, enough so that some still won't identify themselves as Travellers. If you put your head up the attitudes still might not be good towards you."

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