NUI Galway Launches the First Traveller Student Society

Pictured are NUI Galway students and members of the Travelling Community (back row, l-r) Ann Marie McDonagh, Kathleen Sweeney, Martin Ward, Lennita Ruggi, Owen Ward, Martin Ward, Jason Sherlock, Colman Sweeney, Ann Marie Roche. Front Row: Stephen Moriarty, Anna Keane, Bridget Marie Ward, Michelle Mitchell.
Apr 24 2019 Posted: 14:50 IST

Members of the Travelling community officially launched the first Traveller student society in Ireland this week. The Minceir Whiden Society was co-founded this year by Traveller students at NUI Galway and the Galway Traveller Movement. ‘Minceir Whiden’ means ‘Travellers Talking’ in the Cant language, which is spoken by the Irish Travelling community.

Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway, said: “The Societies Office in NUI Galway is delighted to be the first to include a Traveller society among their list of societies. We look forward to many collaborations and to support inclusion in third level and look forward to a productive year for the society. Congratulations to all the students involved in the initiative.”

The society aims to work towards increasing Traveller participation in third level education, while providing a safe and welcoming space on campus. At present, just 1% of the travelling community hold a third-level qualification, with just 9% of Traveller children completing the Leaving Certificate compared to 86% of the settled population.

NUI Galway student Owen Ward said: “One of the main objectives of the society is to empower members of the Travelling community to enter third-level education, while being encouraged and supported by NUI Galway. At present, there is a small number of Traveller students studying at NUI Galway across numerous disciplines. Also, it is of paramount importance to build positive alliances and relationships between Traveller students and the student and staff body at NUI Galway, as well as the wider community.”


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