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David Stanton, Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, today attended the Traveller Pride Awards which were held in Dublin.

The Traveller Pride Awards ceremony is the lead event for the annual Traveller Pride Week programme which is a showcase for all that is positive about the Traveller community in Ireland. Prizes were awarded in a wide range of categories including youth, community action, education, music, the arts and sport.

Alongside last year’s overall winner, Mr Hugh Friel, the Minister of State presented the overall award for 2016 to Mikey Kelly. Mikey is a 12 year old world champion handball player. The Minister of State congratulated Mikey on this huge achievement and said that Ireland was proud of him.

The Minister of State congratulated all of the winners and thanked their families and communities for the support they provide to enable such positive energy and commitment to come forth.

The recently appointed Minister of State said that he looked forward to working with the Traveller community to address a number of issues of concern to them. Referring to the long-standing campaign for Travellers to be recognised as an ethnic group, he called on Travellers and their organisations to focus now on reaching out to the wider Irish society to explain the case for recognition and to win support for this step.