Romani people in Ireland

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The number of Romani people in Ireland is roughly estimated, as the Central Statistics Office collects its data based on nationality and not ethnic origin. For this reason a precise demographic profile of the Romani in Ireland is not available. Some estimates of Romani in Ireland give the population at 1,700 in 2004[1] rising to between 2,500 and 3,000 in 2005[2] with the majority originating from Romania and from Hungary.



The Romani people originate from Northern India,[3][4][5][6][7][8] presumably from the northwestern Indian states Rajasthan[7][8] and Punjab.[7]

The linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of Romani language lie in India: the language has grammatical characteristics of Indian languages and shares with them a big part of the basic lexicon, for example, body parts or daily routines.[9]

More exactly, Romani shares the basic lexicon with Hindi and Punjabi. It shares many phonetic features with Marwari, while its grammar is closest to Bengali.[10]

Genetic findings in 2012 suggest the Romani originated in northwestern India and migrated as a group.[4][5][11] According to a genetic study in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the Ḍoma, are the likely ancestral populations of the modern European Roma.[12]

In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.[13]

Migration to Ireland[edit]

Romani have been present in Ireland since the beginning of the 19th century. Traditionally, Romani arrived from Britain for seasonal work, either as farm labourers or as coppersmiths[2]


After the collapse of communism in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, thousands of Romani, among others, sought asylum in Ireland and other Western countries. Their arrival prompted contrasting editorials in the mainstream newspapers.[14] In 1989, Romani started to arrive in Ireland,[citation needed] predominantly by hiding in container lorries. In the summer of 1998, several hundred Romani arrived hidden in freight containers in Rosslare Harbour, many of them illegally trafficked.[15]

A second impetus for Romani immigration arose after the admittance of an additional 15 states to the European Union, with the populations coming to Dublin and the other major towns and cities.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism website article on Travellers and Roma
  2. ^ a b Report in Roma Educational Needs in Ireland
  3. ^ Hancock 2002, p. xx: ‘While a nine century removal from India has diluted Indian biological connection to the extent that for some Romanian groups, it may be hardly representative today, Sarren (1976:72) concluded that we still remain together, genetically, Asian rather than European’
  4. ^ a b Mendizabal, Isabel (6 December 2012). "Reconstructing the Population History of European Romani from Genome-wide Data". Current Biology. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Sindya N. Bhanoo (11 December 2012). "Genomic Study Traces Roma to Northern India". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Current Biology.
  7. ^ a b c K. Meira Goldberg; Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum; Michelle Heffner Hayes. "Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives". p. 50. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  8. ^ a b Simon Broughton; Mark Ellingham; Richard Trillo. "World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East". p. 147. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  9. ^ Šebková, Hana; Žlnayová, Edita (1998), Nástin mluvnice slovenské romštiny (pro pedagogické účely) (PDF), Ústí nad Labem: Pedagogická fakulta Univerzity J. E. Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem, p. 4, ISBN 80-7044-205-0 
  10. ^ Hübschmannová, Milena (1995). "Romaňi čhib – romština: Několik základních informací o romském jazyku". Bulletin Muzea romské kultury. Brno: Muzeum romské kultury (4/1995). Zatímco romská lexika je bližší hindštině, marvárštině, pandžábštině atd., v gramatické sféře nacházíme mnoho shod s východoindickým jazykem, s bengálštinou. 
  11. ^ "5 Intriguing Facts About the Roma". Live Science. 
  12. ^ Rai, N; Chaubey, G; Tamang, R; Pathak, AK; Singh, VK (2012), "The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations", PLoS ONE, 7 (11): e48477, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048477 
  13. ^ "Can Romas be part of Indian diaspora?". 29 February 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Watt, Philip (Nov 1998). Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Ireland: the potential of community development strategies. Combat Poverty Agency. p. 17. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  15. ^ Roma Immigration to Ireland