Educational attainment among Travellers has risen strongly in the past 17 years, but it is still far lower than that of the general population, according to figures contained in a survey published today.

A national survey of Travellers has found that 16% now complete their Leaving Certificate, compared to just 2% in the year 2000.

It found that 40% of Travellers have completed their Junior Certificate or an equivalent, compared to just 9% 17 years ago.

Almost 500 Travellers were interviewed for the survey, which was carried out by market research company Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of a number of Traveller advocacy groups.

The survey repeated many questions asked of Travellers in a similar survey conducted in 2000.

This latest survey finds growing levels of satisfaction among Travellers as to the education they received, with younger Travellers far more likely to feel positive.

65% of Travellers aged between 16 and 24 years of age say they are satisfied with their education, compared to just 42% or 32% of those over 35 and 50 years of age.

Almost two out of three parents surveyed said they were satisfied with the education their children received. However, the parents of children who are under 12 years of age were significantly less likely to be happy compared to those with older children.

But gains made in education are not matched elsewhere, according to the survey.

Compared to 2000, only 26% of Travellers said they considered that life in general had improved for Travellers in recent years.

This compares to 61% in the year 2000. Just over 40% said they felt life had become worse, compared to 19% with that view in 2000.

Those surveyed singled out accommodation, mental health, and unemployment as three areas where, for them, negative experiences had strongly increased.

60% of those surveyed said they were unemployed. More than 80% said they had been affected by suicide, with more than a quarter saying they had experienced suicide directly within their immediate family.

90% of those who participated in the survey said they had experienced discrimination, with 77% saying they had experienced it within the past year.

Asked about the source of the discrimination 70% complained of discrimination at the hands of the gardaí. This was the highest category.

This figure corresponds to a similar finding made in 2000, when 71% complained of discrimination from the gardaí.