Opinion: Poverty is at the root of Travellers' crime problem
The recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group could be a seminal moment for Ireland - but it's a complex problem.
Let's get a big issue out of the way first - criminality. A 2014 Irish Penal Reform Trust study produced in relation to Travellers in prison found a disproportionate number of Travellers are incarcerated. Men are between five and 11 times more likely to be jailed while, for women, it's 18 to 22 times more likely.
One of the criticisms of Travellers is that they do not expose the criminality of other Travellers. But is society as a whole any different?
How many of us would report another farmer we saw doing something we know or strongly suspect is wrong - say spreading slurry near a river or cutting a hedge out of season?
Criminality in rural areas is well documented and most of us are familiar with the theft of farm equipment. However, if there was no market for this stuff, there would be no point in stealing it.
This is not a defence of such behaviour, but it is a partial explanation for it.
The Traveller association with criminality is relatively recent. The decline in the demand for tinsmiths, carpets and second-hand furniture has hit them hard financially.
The one sure connection to crime is poverty.