ECMI Publications Database

#123: Inclusion in Crisis: The Case of Irish Travellers during the First Months of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Akofa Boglo
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Since the World Health Organisation characterised Covid-19 as a pandemic in early 2020 (WHO, 2020), the spread of the virus and efforts to control it have necessitated an ongoing restructuring of interactions between individuals, communities and entire societies. The pandemic has been an inconvenience for some and a disaster for others. Minority communities in particular have increasingly been shown to be disproportionately affected by the direct and indirect impact of the virus, which has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities. This paper aims to add to efforts to understand the impact of this multi-faceted crisis on societies and in particular minority communities through an assessment of the space between government and minority community responses in the Republic of Ireland. By considering how Traveller organisations have worked to protect the Traveller community, and the extent to which this effort was met and supported by the Government of Ireland’s ‘governance response’ during the first ‘wave’ of the pandemic, this case study aims to contribute to understandings of minority agency and inclusion in liberal democratic societies both during and outside of times of crisis, and hopes to show that moments of upheaval are not by necessity points of deterioration for minorities, but can carry the potential for more inclusive practices, processes and societies moving forward. 

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