An Oireachtas committee has called on the State to formally acknowledge Travellers as a separate ethnic group.

The Justice and Equality Committee has called on the Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, to make the announcement in the Dáil.

The committee is launching its report on the Recognition of Traveller Ethnicity in Leinster House this morning.

Traveller representatives have expressed confidence of a "historic" announcement in the coming weeks.

Committee Chairperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has recommended that the Government should then conduct a review, in consultation with Traveller representative groups, of any legislative or policy changes required on foot of the recognition of Traveller ethnicity.

The committee held hearings on the issue last year, during which the Human Rights and Equality Commissioner Emily Logan questioned the lack of recognition by the State towards Traveller ethnicity.

Ms Logan said that it was a serious and ongoing concern that overt recognition of Travellers as an ethnic minority continues to be withheld by successive governments.