Entrepreneurship, enterprise and Irish Travellers

Dennis FOLEY, Thomas M. Cooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


While Travellers are native to Ireland, they have much in common with European Roma, Sinti and Gypsies. Travellers for centuries have been highly entrepreneurial people, but it is evident that social changes and a national economy which is oriented towards a highly-skilled workforce will ensure that the majority of them will become excluded from active participation in the general labour market. However, a renewed emphasis on self-employment would enable Travellers to engage in economic activity in a flexible manner that would allow them to meet other cultural obligations, while also avoiding potentially discriminatory employee–manager–other employee relationships. Therefore, social change and new business practices are needed from within the Traveller community to maintain the Traveller culture while growing their enterprises. Such change must be supported by government through adequately funded programmes but championed by Travellers for Travellers. To continue on the current economic path and not diversify into skilled trades will see Travellers staying within the ‘welfare benefit trap’ and remaining hampered by poverty and low levels of employment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-87
Number of pages15
JournalSmall enterprises research: the journal of SEAANZ
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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