Siobhan Curran
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Roma rights and racism
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This chapter examines the extent to which Roma have their human rights realised in Ireland from an intersectional perspective. It examines how the operations, interactions and patterns of subordination, including racism and discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and migrant status, are embedded in institutions, legislation and policy, resulting in the exclusion and marginalisation of Roma in Ireland. Using data from the national needs assessment of Roma in Ireland, the experiences of discrimination and exclusion that Roma face across services and in public spaces are discussed, with a particular focus on Roma women. The chapter argues that ‘neutral’ policies combined with a legacy of institutional racism across Europe place many Roma in vulnerable situations. A narrow focus on formal equality and a narrative that ‘equal treatment is synonymous with the same treatment’ is used to legitimise policies that operate to exclude many Roma. Roma are pitched as the ‘problem’ and blamed for the exclusion they face, which is used to fuel further negative stereotypes about the community. Finally this chapter looks at the impact and consequences of institutional racism and exclusion, and Roma responses to this exclusion. It argues that it is crucial to acknowledge systematic structural inequalities and to institutionalise substantive equality to progress Roma rights in Ireland.

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