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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Alison O'Reilly

'Inspirational' young Traveller graduates from garda training college

The appointment of a young Traveller who has graduated from the Garda training college has been hailed “powerful and inspirational”.

Patrick Nevin was one of 53 new graduates who completed their training course at Templemore in Co Tipperary last week.

He is one of the first few members of the Traveller community to join the force, but the first to waive his right to privacy.

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Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Pavee Point’s Martin Collins said it was a “powerful moment”.

He said: “He is the first self-identified Traveller. There has been a small number of others, perfectively right, to remain anonymous but Patrick wanted to it known.

“I want to show our appreciation and acknowledge to his fantastic achievement. On behalf of Pavee Point we wish him all the best hopefully he will have a long and fruitful career.

“From a personal and professional point, it is wonderful news. It’s an inspirational story for the community and I think he’ll be a role model for other young Traveller boys and girls who aspire to be members of An Garda Siochana.

“It is also very significant from that point, and we are very happy for his family and for the community. There is no doubt, there is a barrier there, between the gardai and young Travellers in particular.”

A landmark report on how Travellers have a significantly lower level of trust with the Garda and the judicial system was published last month.

It revealed how the relationship with Travellers and the Criminal Justice System in Ireland was examined by academics at the University of Limerick.

Researchers found a level of distrust among almost half of the Travelling community for gardai, while trust levels were even lower again for Travellers who have been victims of crime.

Half of those surveyed had been present in a home that gardai entered without permission. A search warrant was shown in only 11% of cases.

Mr Collins added: “That report showed what it is like between Travellers and the gardai. It confirmed there is low levels in the trust by Travellers, they believe there is racial profiling in a high percentage of Travellers stopped and searched.

“And a very high percentage of encounters of racial slurs. Really the recommendations have to be acted upon and we would be calling on Drew Harris the Garda Commissioner to work with Traveller organisations that those recommendations are implanted.

“But for Patrick and his family, it is a great day for the Traveller community. He is a very proud Traveller man. But I want to be clear, he is a garda who happens to be a member of the Travelling community. He is not a Traveller Guard.”

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