All 28 European Union member states have committed to implementing a set of recommendations, proposed by the European Commission, to step up the economic and social integration of Roma communities.

It is the first ever EU-level legal instrument for Roma inclusion and represents a commitment from member states to taking targeted action to bridge the gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population.

The Council Recommendation focuses on improving access for Roma to education, employment, healthcare and housing.

The announcement comes as a groundbreaking project is underway which aims to challenge stereotypes of the estimated 5,000 Roma people in Ireland.

The "Roma, One People - Many Lives" project is being developed by the Equality Authority, Nasc and Pavee Point.

A number of Roma people have come forward to talk about their experience of stereotyping and have their photograph taken.

Organisers say the project "is an opportunity to tell people the real story about Roma people living in Ireland, challenge the negative ideas that are out there and present the positive aspects of Roma people and life".

The photographs will eventually be displayed in an exhibition which will be available to schools, libraries and community centres across the country.

Organisers are seeking more people to participate in the project