NUI Galway to host Traveller Ethnicity Day next week

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NUI Galway is to host a series of online events on Monday 1 March 2021 as part of Traveller Ethnicity Day.

Minister Simon Harris, Senator Eileen Flynn, children’s author Richard O’Neill and US-based academic Professor Sharon Gmelch are among those taking part.

Monday marks five years since the Government officially recognised Irish Travellers as an ethnic group.

And to mark the anniversary, the flag of the Mincéirs Whiden Society, the only university society for Irish Travellers, will fly above the Quad at NUI Galway and a series of films will be shown including a specially produced short documentary Travellers in Higher Education: Building a Sense of Belonging.

Other events planned for the day include panel discussions on pathways to education and a career in teaching and what the State’s recognition of Traveller ethnicity has meant for the community.

The full schedule of events and how to access them is available at

“Even with the limitations placed on the University because of COVID-19, the events planned for March 1st 2021 are both hugely symbolic and an important showcase and support for the Travelling community,” said Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway.

“They resonate with our values of openness and respect. I look forward to taking part on the day.

“Being able to highlight the opportunities in our University is central to the strategy we are pursuing at NUI Galway of Shared Vision, Shaped by Values. Our community, of which the Travelling community is a part, is proud to see initiatives like this, for the public good.”

Imelda Byrne, Head of NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said, “We are delighted to celebrate Traveller Ethnicity Day again this year, and to further embed the progress made by the Access Centre in supporting Travellers to access higher education and become a part of NUI Galway community.”

Owen Ward, Programme Coordinator in NUI Galway’s Access Centre who is leading the day’s events, added that they are highlighting the openness of NUI Galway, its commitment to showcasing the rich heritage of the Travelling community and the importance of building bridges between all communities.

“NUI Galway are the only university in Ireland to officially celebrate Traveller Ethnicity Day annually through a day long series of events and there is a great commitment to widening the participation of Irish Travellers in third level education,” said Owen.

“Through a strong collaboration of numerous partners across the NUI Galway community, this event creates the opportunity for all students, including Irish Travellers, to start planning to study and build their sense of belonging at NUI Galway.”