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Limerick Traveller Network gives travellers a voice regarding education, mental health, and discrimination



 Limerick Traveller Network Representatives with Joe O’Brien, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The network wants to give Travellers a voice and improve accommodation, education, mental health, and end discrimination

By I Love Limerick correspondent Ellie McCarthy

The Limerick Traveller Network aims to give Travellers a voice and to build up the capacity to work towards improving accommodation, education, mental health, and discrimination. A group of over thirty traveller women from many areas around Limerick created this network to represent the traveller community under the guidance of Margaret O Brien and Olive O’Reilly.




The network was set up to give travellers a voice and after a year of weekly meetings and training, representatives from the network recently met with Minister of State Joe O’Brien at the community centre in Southill, with over 500 signatures and names from their community, in a bid to lobby for support from those in charge.

A focus group had been held to look at barriers to employment schemes and the network expressed their disappointment to Minister O’Brien that no one from their community was consulted over these various employment schemes.

Speaking to Live 95, Margaret O’Brien of the Limerick Travellers Network said, “We were here today in the midst of a load of community development projects, coordinators, workers, working with the traveller community for many years. The fact of the matter is that everyone here in the room today was getting involved in discussions, decision making and policy making about travellers without travellers.”

Margaret is one of the leaders of the Limerick Traveller Network and is a member of the travelling community originally from Tralee, Co Kerry, but has been living in Co. Limerick for a number of years. She has worked for various organisations in Limerick city over the past twenty years as a social care worker, supporting people around addiction, mental health, homelessness, and domestic abuse.

Some of Margaret’s many passions, outside of her advocacy role, include working and supporting traveller families around domestic abuse and traveller children in foster care. Margaret is currently completing her 3rd year in BSc Psychology at the University of Limerick.

Olive O’Reilly, who also helped form the group, is a member of the travelling community from Limerick city. She has devoted many years to advocating and supporting her community in a voluntary capacity.

Olive is extremely passionate about human rights and in particular promoting equal opportunities for all travellers. Olive was also one of the traveller researchers involved in the ‘All Ireland Health Study’ and is a peer researcher at the University of Limerick.

Both Olive and Margaret played an active role in the ‘Limerick Traveller Covid-19 support group’ on a voluntary basis, during the pandemic. 

Minister O’Brien praised the determined women who clearly showed a passion and dedication to the cause saying, “They have already shown significant commitment in coming together and forming the Limerick Travellers Network with a view to addressing the many issues facing members of the Travelling community.” Well done to all involved. 

For further details on the group, you can email Olive at [email protected]

For more information on Travellers’ rights, go HERE

For more community stories, go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.