Donegal Travellers Project 'very surprised' at drop in population

Census figures show a 19% drop in Travellers living in Donegal

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

Donegal Travellers Project 'very surprised' at drop in population

The Donegal Travellers Project says it is very surprised at census figures which show the county’s Traveller population has fallen by almost 20 per cent.
According to census figures released last week there were 586 Irish Travellers living in Donegal in April 2016, a decline of 19.3% since 2011.
Nationally, the number of people enumerated as Irish Travellers increased by 5.1% to 30,987.
The Donegal Traveller's Project says it is reviewing the census figures and comparing them to its own statistics.
Factors such as families not being at home and literacy issues are possible explanations for the drop.
Accommodation and men's development worker with the Donegal Traveller Project, Hugh Friel, said there are over 300 Traveller families in the county and the project believes the numbers have remained more or less the same.
“From our point of view we don’t see the decrease in the Traveller population in Donegal. At our calculation there is not a decrease. Whatever went wrong during the night of the census we haven't figured it out but we will be looking at it.”
He said many Traveller families were supported by the project in completing the census forms.
“Some of the families have literacy issues and that could have had an impact but we don’t know for sure. It could be some ticked the wrong box. We are very surprised at the figures from working on the ground in primary health care. We are aware of every Traveller family in the county. We are not saying the national figures are wrong but something went wrong on census night in Donegal and for what reason we don’t know why.
“We thought the number has remained the same - there may have been a small decrease but not anything of the volume of the census. We will be reviewing our own census and doing home visits and will have a review of the census with families.”
Nurul Amin of Pavee Point, who liaises with the CSO , said in some cases families may not get forms and sometimes there may be two families, living in one home, but there is good cooperation between Travellers groups and the CSO.