Their living conditions have been exposed in a new report commissioned by the Department of Justice.
The research found many Roma people live in overcrowded, rat-infested accommodation, sometimes with no gas, water or electricity.
It also showed that one in 10 has no kitchen, fridge or bathroom.
The report, carried out in conjunction with Pavee Point, found that 50% of respondents did not always have enough food or fuel.
It also showed there is a large portion of Roma children and babies lacking basic supplies such as nappies.
“It’s particularly hard to hear about the children living in overcrowded houses with rats, damp, and sewage.
“Some people said they did not have the basic supplies for new babies, such as nappies and baby clothes, and that children were going to school hungry and without lunch,” Gabi Muntean from Pavee Point said.
The reason for their poverty is linked to being “excluded from the system”.
“The poverty identified in the research was consistently linked to not having employment, not having the right to reside, and not being habitually resident,” said Siobhán Curran, Roma Project coordinator, Pavee Point.
The report, ‘Roma In Ireland: A National Needs Assessment’, also discovered the extraordinarily high levels of discrimination that Roma people face in Ireland.
More than 80% of respondents reported experiencing discrimination in the street or a public place such as being told to “go home” and “go back to your country”.
- Full report: paveepoint.ie