Travellers' rights activist Eileen Flynn has said it is "unbelievable" to be one of 11 new senators nominated by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and tomorrow, when she sits in the Seanad, will be a historic day.
Speaking on RTÉ's Sunday with Miriam, Ms Flynn described how the call from Mr Martin yesterday was the "most amazing call" she ever got in her life.
She spoke of her upbringing, where she was raised on a halting site in Ballyfermot in Dublin.
She is the only Independent senator in the group of 11 announced yesterday by the Taoiseach.
Ms Flynn was unsuccessful in the Seanad Elections in March, but she said she had great cross-party support and thanked the Independent TD Thomas Pringle, in particular, for his support during her campaign.
She said it was "phenomenal" to be nominated by the three party leaders in the new government.
She said she completed an access course with Trinity College Dublin before earning a degree from Maynooth University.
Speaking of what she will do in the Seanad, she said she would like to continue the work of Collette Kelleher, who she said had "started some great work with policies to bring change for the traveller community" and that she would "love to see hate crime legislation in Ireland".
Ms Flynn said she looks forward to working people at the "very end of Irish society", that she wants to help people who do not have equality of opportunity.
She said she is not going to be the voice of black people "because I am not black" but she wants people to come into the Seanad to speak for themselves.
She said she hopes young Traveller women will look at her and say "life is hard, but I will keep at it".
Blazing a trail is nothing new to Eileen Flynn - our first Traveller senator. Here she was 12 years ago - herself & her sister Sally - the first Travellers from Labre Park to go to 3rd level. @Love1solidarity pic.twitter.com/BN2qUugxXw— emma o kelly (@emma_okelly) June 27, 2020