A report has found that up to one-fifth of Roma people surveyed in Ireland are completely marginalised from State services and supports.
The report by Pavee Point and the Department of Justice and Equality to be published today recommends a wide range of policy reform initiatives to urgently address the exclusion of the Roma community.
The report found that Roma people are living in extreme poverty, in sub-standard and overcrowded accommodation, sometimes without a bathroom, kitchen or cooker and contending with rats, damp and sewerage problems.
Service providers reported cases of malnutrition among young Roma children, while a further 60% of Roma respondents reported being consistently poor.
Major barriers to public services were ineligibility for medical cards, training and employment schemes, social protection payments and homeless or other supports.
This was either due to lacking the right to reside or the habitual residence criteria.
The report said the Government should now consider these issues.
Other impediments included language barriers, not knowing about services, and discrimination.
The report recommends reforms to hate crime legislation.
The report estimates that more than ten million Roma live in Europe, with possibly 5,000, mostly of Romanian origin, living in the Republic.
It says the largest communities are living in Dublin, Louth, Kildare, Wexford, Cork, Kerry, Clare and Donegal.
Interviews by peer field workers with 108 adult Roma yielded information on almost 500 more family members.
Meanwhile, Pavee Point community development worker Gabi Muntean said the report revealed some shocking findings.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms Muntean said malnutrition among Roma children was a huge issue.
She said it was shocking to think of children in 2018 suffering from malnutrition.
Ms Muntean said there were some positive findings, including the fact that over 70% of children were attending primary and secondary school, even if their parents were not receiving any sort of child benefit or payment.
Ms Muntean said around 10% of the Roma community were employed.
She said a big mistrust between the Roma Community and the State was created in 2013 when two blonde Roma children were removed from their families.