Nearly half of British people would be ‘unhappy’ if a relative had a relationship with an Irish Traveller – new poll
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Nearly half of British people would be ‘unhappy’ if a relative had a relationship with an Irish Traveller – new poll

A NEW YouGov poll has found that almost half of adults in Britain would be ‘unhappy’ with a close relative being in a relationship with an Irish Traveller.

The survey, commissioned by the Traveller Movement charity, discovered that over one in four (42 per cent) of British people wouldn’t approve of a close relative having a long-term relationship or marriage with a Traveller.

That’s compared to just 10 per cent for relationships with Black Caribbean partners and three per cent for White British.

The Traveller Movement said the poll of 2174 British adults suggests a “shocking level of prejudice still facing Gypsy and Traveller people in Britain today."

Parents in Britain were significantly more likely to say they would be unhappy with their child having a "playdate" at the home of a Traveller child.

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Just five per cent of British adults said they would be unhappy if their child had a playdate at the home of a Black Caribbean child, compared to 37 percent who would be unhappy with their child playing at a Traveller home.

Key findings include:

  • Only four in ten (41%) GB parents would be happy for their child having a “playdate” at the home of a child who is a Gypsy/ Traveller.
  • Only around a third (34%) of GB adults consider Gypsy/Traveller to be an ethnic group.
  • Over one in ten (13%) GB adults think that pubs and restaurants in the UK should refuse Gypsies/ Travellers because they are a Gypsy/Traveller.
  • One in four (42%) of GB adults said they would be unhappy with a close relative having a long-term relationship or marriage with a Gypsy/Traveller.
  • This compares with 28%, 10% and 3% of GB adults would be unhappy with a close relative having a long-term relationship or marriage with a person who is a refugee/asylum seeker, Black Caribbean or White British respectively.

The Traveller Movement charity said the new survey “adds further weight” to recent research which found that 91 per cent of Travellers in Britain have experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity.

“We know from our own casework and discrimination cases that Gypsies and Travellers encounter prejudice on an almost daily basis but the results from this poll are shocking, even to us,” said the Traveller Movement’s chief executive, Yvonne MacNamara.

“The fact that so many people openly say they would be uncomfortable with a close relative having a relationship with a Traveller for no other reason than that person is a Traveller proves this is truly the last acceptable form of racism”.

Mrs MacNamara said she was calling for “ill-informed cultural stereotypes” about Travellers to be tackled in schools.

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She added: “No child is born to hate. It is something that is learned from parents or authority figures and given that four out of ten parents have revealed prejudice toward Travellers perhaps explains why so many Traveller children are bullied at school.

“This is precisely why schools need to adopt Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month as part of their curriculum so the ill-informed, and frankly racist stereotypes people have of these communities can finally be challenged and addressed.”

Kate Green MP, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, said YouGov’s new findings were “deeply shocking and distressing”.

She added:It shows a level of ignorance and prejudice against Travellers that simply wouldn't and shouldn't be tolerated if it was directed at any other ethnic minority group.

“Traveller families want to get on with their lives, bring up their kids, and protect and celebrate their culture.

“We have a responsibility to speak up for their right to do so.”