Garda & Traveller Dialogue Days

“The Garda-Traveller Dialogue Days are great examples of how barriers can be broken down by communication, dialogue, and collaboration.  They provide opportunities for both Garda and Traveller Communities to understand better each other and identify areas for change”.

Supt Kevin Daly, formerly of the Garda National Diversity & Integration Unit:

Garda/Traveller Dialogue Initiative

The Garda/Traveller Dialogue Day is a one-day session, with the title, Building Trust and Bridging Divides, the session will be facilitated by the Traveller Mediation Service and will provide an opportunity for participants to engage in informal dialogue on issues of concern, with the aim of building understanding, and enhancing cooperation between Traveller community and the and Gardai.

The idea for a Garda/Traveller Dialogue Day originated from a guest speaker session given by a member of the Garda Intercultural & Diversity Office in 2016 to a group of adult Traveller students in Maynooth, as part of their programme to become accredited mediators in their community (‘the Traveller Mediation & Conflict Training Programme’).

The first Garda/Traveller Dialogue Day took place at the Glencree Centre on 12th October 2016, attended by Garda Ethnic Liaison Officers and students from the mediation training Programme.

A second Dialogue Day was held in Maynooth University on 20th February 2018, hosted by Maynooth University’s Edward Kennedy Institute of Conflict Intervention on February 20th, 2018, attended by 30 people.

Similarly, a third Dialogue Day took place in Maynooth on May 1st, 2019.

One of the agreed outcomes from the May 1st Dialogue Day was that TMS would work with the Garda Diversity and Integration Unit to organise several regional Dialogue Days every year.

The first regional Dialogue Day took place in Athlone on 11th October 2019 for Garda and Traveller representatives in counties Longford, Laois, Offaly, and Westmeath. The session was facilitated by the Traveller Mediation Service and the Garda Diversity & Integration Unit.

Unfortunately, we have had to postpone the regional Dialogue Days in 2020 scheduled for Galway and Cork because of Covid19.

10th November 2021 saw a one-day workshop was held for Traveller representatives and Gardai from the Galway/Mayo areas, attended by
27 people. Followed by another one-day workshop held in Mallow April 2023.