Support for the rights of the travelling community has long been integral to the work of the Sisters of Mercy in the South Central Province, most notably in Athy, Rathkeale, Ennis, Thurles, Cashel and Tipperary Town. Two Sisters work with travelling families in the Dublin area.
A member who is a retired social worker continues to be active in supporting travellers in the Thurles area, liaising with the local town council and the HSE to help provide housing and health services to a number of families. She also facilitates positive interaction between the travellers and the local settled community.
The Athy Travellers’ Support Group was established by a Sister of Mercy in an effort to combat the disadvantage experienced by travellers and to promote their welfare and human rights. It supports the recognition of travellers as a nomadic group having its own distinctive culture and lifestyle and encourages positive inter-action between travellers and the settled community in the Athy area. In 2016 two sisters supported the service with regular contact. The ‘drop in centre’ has proved to be very popular with the travellers.
In Tipperary Town Sisters have befriended the travellers who have settled in the area and in Cashel a Sister has worked to integrate young travellers through involving them in a boxing club.