On this morning's Jennifer Zamparelli show on 2FM, Senator Eileen Flynn spoke about education, her time in a wheelchair, dealing with the loss of her mother at an early age, postnatal depression, equality and what she hopes to achieve in her new role as a senator.
Senator Flynn, the first female Traveller in the Oireachtas, launched Traveller Pride week on Monday, a two-week celebration of Traveller culture and recognising diversity and pride within the community.
Happy Traveller Pride Week 2020 #diversity within the community especially for Deaf & disabled Travellers with speech impediment who use sign! @paveebeoir @Love1solidarity #TravellerPride pic.twitter.com/1DeyTuKI8b— Dr JBC (@jconama_bosco66) July 15, 2020
"The message is that, although we're a community of forty thousand people, we have to start looking at the diversity within our community," Eileen told Jen.
"The LGBTQI+ people, trans people, women in our community - the choices that women have to make in our community - women that married outside of the community, men that married outside of the community, people with disabilities.
"There's no one way to be a Traveller person," she continued. "You are born into the Traveller community and that's what makes you a Traveller. I've heard people say 'oh, he or she is not a real Traveller' but we don't have to live one life to be a Traveller person."
1. Happy Traveller pride to every Traveller in Ireland and beyond. This year its brilliant to celebrate diversity within our community. The Traveller community has a long and rich history of culture, language, music and skill. Nomadism is a part of the human experience and many— Eileen Ní Fhloinn (@Love1solidarity) July 13, 2020
Speaking further on discrimination and diversity within the community, Flynn told Zamparelli that she believes all marginalised people, including migrants and refugees, need support in gaining equal access to opportunities in Ireland.
"If we want equality, we have to support other people as well. We have to stand in solidarity with other people because it's not human rights or equality for us if there's none for them. You can't have equality for one group and stand against another," she said.
"In my opinion, there is no two people out there the same," she continued, later in the interview. "When we say 'equality’, it is not about treating people all the same because sometimes people don’t want to be treated the same.
"It is around equality of opportunities, that we all have the same opportunities to be able to be successful. And I genuinely don’t believe in taking away anything from any community, because that is not equality.
"It is a hand up, it’s not a handout," she added. "It is asking people at the top of society to give us a hand up, to work with people who are marginalised, to work together and to learn from each other."
Listen back to the full interview on The Jennifer Zamparelli Show here:
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