President Michael D Higgins has spoken of the “incredible grief” he feels concerning the much higher-than-average suicide rate among young Traveller men here.

The President was in attendance at a special event to mark 30 years of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre in Dublin.

He lamented that suicide among young Traveller males is over six times that of the general population.

Pavee is the word for Traveller in the Cant language and the organisation has been at the forefront in trying to make the voice of the Republic's 30,000 Travellers heard in the corridors of power and elsewhere.

He acknowledged that Travellers and Roma that their communities experience high levels of prejudice and exclusion on a daily basis in Irish society.

President Higgins said both groups have had to fight for acceptance and inclusivity within Irish society. He highlighted discrimination and prejudice against Travellers and Roma and said it must be named as racism and tackled as racism.

He also congratulated advocacy group Pavee Point for embracing Roma here.

Pavee Point Directors Ronnie Fay and Martin Collins welcomed President Higgins and his wife Sabina and presented them with a copy of the photographic book '30 Years of Pavee Point' featuring over 400 photographs by Derek Speirs.

President Higgins held a minute’s silence for the victims of the Carrickmines fire. He also said he would be meeting the bereaved families at Aras an Uachtaráin later this week.