‘It Is Your Fault As An Ethnic Grouping’


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From top: Actor John Connors and journalist Paul Williams

A documentary, entitled I Am Traveller, will be broadcast on RTÉ2 next Thursday (March 24), at 9.30pm.

Love/Hate actor John Connors will present it.

Kitty Holland, in the Irish Times, reports:

Connors discusses crime among Travellers with the crime journalist Paul Williams, putting it to him that media coverage of rural crime has implied that it is being run by “Traveller gangs”.

Williams argues that some Travellers are involved in rural crime and tells Connors that his community is “being let down by the criminal element all the time”. Society bears some responsibility, says Williams, “but it is also your fault as an ethnic grouping”.

He asks Connors: “When is the Traveller community going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the drug dealers, the rapists, the people who are terrorising our own people, we want them f***ed out’?”

In his narration Connors responds: “Why should I protest about a gang of drug dealers who have nothing to do with me? I’ll take responsibility for things I can control.”

I am a Traveller, not a ‘knacker’ (Kitty Holland, Irish Times)


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114 thoughts on “‘It Is Your Fault As An Ethnic Grouping’

  1. The People's Hero

    “……… And some, I assume are good people”

    I wonder how Williams might look a little more orange in complexion and sporting a bad comb over….

  2. Nilbert

    When is the settled community going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the drug dealers, the rapists, the people who are terrorising our own people, we want them f***ed out’?”


    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Probably once we realise what a scourge poverty actually is on society rather than paying lip service to it. Until then, zip.

    2. Andy

      I think they already did.
      – Multiple organised meetings on crime down the country last year (Tipp, Kilkenny, Clare etc).
      – Renua running with a policy on feral kids during the last election. An interesting idea from a 1960’s party,
      – Almost weekly you’ve complaints about the junkies in Dublin city

  3. Harry Molloy

    Read that article this morning. Yer man is an interesting fella with some hard luck in his life. He’s an excellent role model and (this is a pretty patronising thing to say) but is an excellent role model for his community,

    It is a small community though so I do think it is worthwhile for them to try to take a hard line with the rampant criminality within it. Pavee Point could be great but yer man running it is terrible…

    1. Nice Jung Man

      He’s one man and no more a representative for his ‘community’ than you are for reasonable debaters.

      Patronising a_sshoel

        1. Nice Jung Man

          I think I made the point you’re a patronising clown.

          Yes I’m fairly sure I got that across.

          1. Bob

            You got across that you’re a patronising, abusive fool who everyone should ignore. A bit of common decency and common sense would do you well.


    wasn’t going to watch, but now I know paul will use a profanity, its a MUST watch
    your a peoples champion paul, go getm

  5. Joe

    It’s about time for discussion like this. It’s the only way to make progress. It is not fair that Travellers get tagged with the same brush but there are issues that should be discussed openly if the gap is to be bridged. And while he is right in saying he can only be held accountable for things within his control, that view is very much at odds with Travellers seeking enthicity status, which very much suggests a community with shared values. If they are organised enough to seek ethnicity (via Pavey Point etc), you would think they might have elected spokesperson to stand up for the greater Traveller community, just as the Muslim communities have in Ireland. For example, when that Sulky race video that went viral, someone could have stepped forward and spoke up if the Traveller community was generally opposed – and if they aren’t we have real problems. Dialogue is the way to understanding.

    Many people seem to think that granting ethic status and then housing Traveller people is the solution…that a a person can be a settled-Traveller. Ethnicity status would give the Traveller community separate rights and that is a questionable solution given it is open to preferential abuses and further, it is simply drawing a heavy line around the Traveller community – which doesn’t exactly help.

    Just to minimise any attack (common with this topic), I’ll put my comment in context of a real story: In the town I come from, Traveller people moved in on the recreational area in 1991. The council should have never allowed it from day 1 and are partly to blame for not standing firmer. That day the town lost it’s recreational centre that was there for generations (the local beach, playground and tennis courts). Terrible situation and you can’t blame the community for having a negative view of Traveller people in general. That’s a real story going back 25 years.

    1. D2dweller

      The exact same thing happens in every town in Ireland. It’s time we stop beating around the bush with travellers. There is serious criminal elements heavily involved through every aspect of their culture, so much so that’s it’s just a way of life for them. It’s a disgrace that whole communities are left in fear because of a few. Look at any travellers funeral, christening or wedding in any town in Ireland. Every business in the town has to close for the day because of a real fear of being terrorised. Would that be accepted with any other culture in Ireland?!

      Paul Williams is making a call for the whole traveller community to rise up against the criminal elements, not just this one man and I support him in this call.

          1. Same old same old

            No – but you know what I can conjugate ‘you’ successfully with ‘are’.
            It’s time you apostrophe thieves were held to account for grammar thugs in general.

        1. Joe

          Hysteria was in your response, not my post, which demonstrated a constructive attitude.

          And shame on you for judging a person on their spelling ability. Were you not brought up to be better than that?

          Broadheet is going to the dogs because of attitudes like yours. Petty troll.

    2. Same old same old

      So what? Your argument is completely stupid.
      Why should one person step forward and be accountable for a whole ethnic group made up of individuals with different attitudes to social norms etc?
      It’s like saying that you’re representative and should be accountable for all the stupids in the stupid community

      1. D2dweller

        He’s not asking one person. He’s asking the whole community. You completely missed my argument….like to to break it down to single syllables for you?

        1. Same old same old

          It’s completely irrational, reactionary and retarded.
          Are all internet commenters to be held to account as a ‘community’ for your breath- taking ignorance and Neanderthal online persona?

          1. D2dweller

            Travellers classify themselves as their own community, separate to ‘settled’ people. So much so that they are trying to become their own ethnic group. So yes they are a community, they can have a collective voice. Instead they fraction themselves through drug wars and cause misery for communities all over this country.

            Move to a town like Mullinagar, Athlone, Longford or parts of Galway and tell me there’s no serious problems with crime and the travelling community. Work in a bar or shop close to a traveller settlement and experience the fear these workers have from constant petty crime. Cop on to yourself would ya.

          2. ahyeah

            “Irrational, reactionary and retarded”….all in one sentence. That’s rude and ignorant, no?

    3. Nigel

      If you think that an individual not wanting to be held accountable for the actions of others in his ethnic group is at odds with a group seeking ethnicity status you either don’t know what either of those tings mean or you are being racist in an extremely literal fashion. Seeking ethnicity status does not mean that individuals in a group can be held accountable for the actions of others in that group. Rethink that argument completely. As for spokespeople – they are usually there to advocate FOR the people they are speaking for, not condemn them. There’s no shortage of people willing to do that. The idea that the Traveller community is required to somehow root out criminality in their own group while surrounded by an angry hostile settled community with all the political and economic power is depressingly myopic.

      1. Same old same old

        Lol -look at that. I’m not “wrong” on this one.
        Oh Happy day!

        You know what Nigel on this occasion I gotta say I can see what you’re saying and am in full agreement :)

      2. Joe

        What’s stunningly out of balance is the fact that many people on Broadsheet might entertain an argument that all men have some shared responsibility in something like rape culture – i.e. ~50% of the world population have a responsibility for something homicidal and pathological but it’s somehow okay if a representative figure in a minority community of 46,000 people in Ireland (1% of the population) doesn’t speak up on criminality in his community – when he’s asked about it and when clearly it is something that should be discussed.

        I empathise with his position as I wrote earlier (he is an individual first, a Traveller second) but I don’t think that view is really constructive given he is speaking in a capacity as a Traveller. It’s a wasted opportunity to enlighten/educate people on misperceptions and it’s possibly evasive – and I can see why he would be uncomfortable talking about Traveller crime.

        Spokespeople can be very useful in providing reassurances and managing tensions, even if that means condemning the behaviour of people in their communities. I mean look at the Belfast violence a few years ago. People were quick to disassociate and removed any sense of things going backwards. Same thing happens when any public demonstration goes bad – there always going to be a few troublemakers.

        I am certainly not a racist, not that race comes into it so much here – cultural differences perhaps. I have not said anything discriminatory either. I’ve just said I can see how it’s hard for a small town like mine with a small Traveller community to be at ease given the Traveller community are technically squatting.

        1. Nice Jung Man

          You know what – you’re just one person mouthing off and not one person here is taking you the least bit seriously – and the more self-serving gibberish you come out with – the worse you’re appearing. Yet I don’t know that I would hold you even marginally representative of the views of for instance, groupings such as ‘internet commenters in general’, ‘people called Joe who try to argue untenable points of view really badly on the internet’ or even ‘the group of people who use usernames of one syllable’.

          I don’t believe for one minute that you should be held to account in any way shape or form for the ignorant, very backward views of people who are called ‘Joe’.

          1. joe

            Way to engage a point. Almost as weak as your comment about the criminal court.

            ..and thanks for speaking for everyone.

    4. LW

      Small bit late to the party here Joe, but you must have missed when “someone could have stepped forward and spoke up if the Traveller community was generally opposed” – because they did. http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0510/320347-horse-road-racing/
      In fact Pavee Point regularly speaks out to condemn crimes committed by travellers. It seems that more than dialogue is the key to understanding.

  6. kingo

    i regularly report from a juvenile court. i would say 80% of the defendants Are travellers. its also the Traveller gangs that are responsible for rural crime.

    1. Nice Jung Man

      you should really try to turn over a new leaf – there is help out there

      if you’re in the juvenile court every day now you could end up in the Special Criminal Court when you grow up

  7. Jonsmoke

    Wednesday of last week a taxi driver I know picked up two men at the Blanchardstown centre atn 4.30pm. They asked to be brought to a Finglas halting site. They offered to pay the fare upfront. He took them. When they got to the site, one got out of the car but the other stayed in and demanded all the driver’s money. The first guy told the other one to leave the driver alone and get out. He wouldn’t and proceeded to beat up the driver (broke his nose). He took all the money and walked away into the site. The driver left and reported this straight away to the Gardaí who said they couldn’t do anything because they can’t go into the halting site. They told him to go the hospital to get his injuries checked.

    1. Nigel

      That’s a terrible story, but you do realise that it’s not Travelers as a group that it condemns, but the Guards? And by extension the State? To be a victim of an attack is awful, but you have the right to expect a response by the Guards, you have the right to justice. But if the Guards are utterly reneging on their responsibilities by refusing to investigate, what does that tell you? If they can’t effectively police the Travelling community, it’s not just the victim they’re letting down, it’s the Trevelling community. As Irish citizens they have the right to live their lives without criminality being allowed t thrive amongst them and there is no possible way that can happen if the police force of this country refuse to tackle even straightforward crimes. How the hell do any of you expect Travellers to call out criminals in their own community if there’s no help or support or presence from the Guards? You people really are failing to put your fingers on the problem here.

      1. Harry Molloy

        you’re half right Nigel. societies are all somewhat responsible for their own improvement and, whilst you cannot condemn an entire society for an individuals sins, there is a responsibility for a society to attempt to address wider issues.
        this most certainly extends to us as a society for the example you mentioned with the guard, given that law enforcement is a tool of society. but I think it also extends to the travelling community as a micro society to attempt to do something also, as we have previously seen in some disadvantaged areas like inner city Dublin. my two cents, but I would reiterate that you cannot blame an individual for a societies shortcomings, nor an entire society for an individuals crimes – but we have collective responsibilities

        1. Nigel

          That being the case maybe we should accept that Travellers are a part of our society and we have as much responsibility for what goes on within their communities as the individuals who get singled out with demands for condemnation And accept that condemnation, discrimination and marginalisation aren’t going to solve a single goddamned thing.

          1. Harry Molloy

            yeah I think so. would be great if this doc would kick off a new, informed and rationale debate.

  8. Anne

    Connors discusses crime among Travellers with the crime journalist Paul Williams, putting it to him that media coverage of rural crime has implied that it is being run by “Traveller gangs”.

    Is Connors implying the media are getting it wrong? That it’s the media showing discrimination against travellers?

    “Why should I protest about a gang of drug dealers who have nothing to do with me? ”

    If those involved in criminality amongst the traveller community have nothing to do with him, why does he complain about discrimination against travellers then? He’s willing to be a spokesman for them, but only the decent ones is it.. he doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge the big criminal/anti-social element within their community.

    I’ve never had a good experience with travellers myself. Their kids have thrown stones at my car on a few occasions.. they’ve parked up outside where I’ve worked once, demanding money before they would leave and constantly shouting at staff members when they passed by them.
    At my dentist’s office one time, two of them were talking very loudly in the waiting room and when they happened to catch me glancing at them, they were shouting to each other about me, saying look at your wan. They were trying to intimidate me for having the audacity to glance over at them.

    Connors would want to deal with the reality of how a lot of his group behaves, if he’s claiming there’s discrimination.

    1. Nigel

      If he is not a criminal but is discriminated against as if he is, what does he have to complain about? Is that what you’re seriously asking? Has it occurred to you that if you’ve never had a good experience with Travelers that it’s entirely possible that they’ve had no good experiences with the settled and that they might be acting accordingly. Doesn’t justify it, but it’s funny how a few (genuinely) bad experiences colour your perceptions and you’re fine with that, but they’re so dehumanised that their experiences hardly count at all.

      1. Anne

        I’m representative of the settled community, so that’s the reason for their bad behaviour towards me… but Connors wants to be a spokesperson for them but is only representative of himself.. I see.

        Sorry, where do I say my bad experiences have coloured my perceptions of them and I’m fine with that? Stop putting your little synopsis on what people write.. thanks.

        1. Nigel

          I’m representative of the settled community, so that’s the reason for their bad behaviour towards me… but Connors wants to be a spokesperson for them but is only representative of himself.. I see.

          You’ve almost got it. Almost.

          So are you saying your bad experiences haven’t coloured your perceptions, or that they have but you’re not okay with it?

  9. Dubh Linn

    When is the Irish community going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the IRA bombers, the IRA drug dealers, the IRA people who are terrorising our own people, we want them f***ed out’?”


      1. Dubh Linn

        Location City/State/Province: (of marches) Belfast, Antrim, Newry, Ballymena, Birmingham, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Craigavon, Dublin, Enniskillen, Manchester, New Castle, Bristol, Edinburgh, Omagh, Boyne, London………

        1. Bertie Blenkinsop

          Belfast, Antrim, Newry, Ballymena, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Craigavon, Dublin, Enniskillen, Omagh, Boyne, are all in Ireland…

          but carry on copying and pasting your shtick, don’t let me interrupt you

          1. Dubh Linn

            Ah yes, Belfast, Antrim, Newry, Ballymena, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Craigavon, Omagh and Enniskillen, those well known Irish cities where the NHS look after the healthcare, the British army patrol the streets, the currency us sterling and the UK government pay the social welfare bills out of the goodness of their hearts, shure tell me another one…..

          2. bertie blenkinsop

            The places listed were where you say the IRA were terrorising our own people.
            They’re either Irish or they’re not.
            You asked for Irish people marching and you got them.
            Ctrl C Ctrl V.

      2. Dubh Linn

        Look, it probably ages since you were in school. That’s grand, we all forget stuff. You could probably get one of those secondary school geography books off the internet.

        Sure, it took me 20 mins to find the car keys this morning.

        1. bertie blenkinsop

          Ah personal insults.
          Well done.
          I’ll leave you to your rants, I don’t do Internet arguments, they’re for the deranged and attention seeking.

          1. Dubh Linn

            I was expressing empathy with a fellow forgetful person but shure if you want to take it as a personal insult, that’s yer prerogative.

            I’ve heard sudocream is great for the old internet butthurt… or was it lavender tea?? Better try both as you seem to be fierce sensitive with the stuff. So sorry if I have added to your troubles…..

        2. Dubh Linn

          I have been empathetic and supportive in all my posts. I could not have embraced your peccadilloes more if I had suggested I courier you a bottle of whiskey and a hug from Dana. You are the one casting aspersions on my mental capacity and neediness….

          Tell me …… (insert imaginary insult here)

  10. Dubh Linn

    When is the Muslim community going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the bombers, the woman-beaters, the gay-bashers, the jihad preachers, the people who are terrorising our own people, we want them f***ed out’?”


  11. Dubh Linn

    When is the white middle American community going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the people who shoot up cinemas, the school shooters, the people who are terrorising our own black people, we want them f***ed out’?”


  12. Dubh Linn

    When is the male community going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the murders, the rapists, the people who are attempting to deny bodily autonomy for the women in our society, we want them f***ed out’?”


  13. Dubh Linn

    When is the female community going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the murders of men, the rapists of men, the people who are attempting to deny equal rights under the law for the men in our society, we want them f***ed out’?”


    1. D2dweller

      I didn’t realise the female population has the outrageously high crime statistics that travellers do.

      1. Dubh Linn

        Interestingly there are lots of statistics on the numbers and social profiling of incarcerated women in Ireland but none publicly available from a reputable source on the numbers of incarcerated travellers….

        So your presumption is as good as mine…

  14. Dubh Linn

    When are the Guards going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the corrupted, the ones who take backhanders, the ones who turn a blind eye to murder, the ones who lose drink driving and speeding tickets, the ones that would rather lick a politicians arse than put in an honest days work, we want them f***ed out’?”


    1. Bertie Blenkinsop

      Let’s have a go

      When are the fans of Leo from Fair City going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the powers that be in RTE to allow him to continue to ham it up every evening, we want him to stumble over his lines, we want him to be win an Oscar for his perpetually bewildered air and anyone who disagrees with us, we want them f***ed out’?”

      …. obviously….

      1. Dubh Linn

        No idea what you are on about but if its all in the name of ridiculing how fupping stupid the presumption is that one group, gender, ethnicity, whatever are responsible for the actions of all of their peers, they have to be on something (high horse of self-righteousness more than likely)

      2. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        Can I do one?

        When are the idiots going to really come out? When are they going to post nonsense on Broadsheet and say, ‘We want the thing we were talking about to be the thing you’re talking about too and anyone who disagrees with us, we want them f***ed out’?”

        …. obviously….

        1. Dubh Linn

          Tomorrow. Always tomorrow, Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you’re only a day away…

  15. Dubh Linn

    When are the Romanys going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the pickpockets, the ones who steal children, the ones who sell the big issue, the ones that beg on the streets and get us all a bad name, we want them f***ed out’?”


  16. Dubh Linn

    When are the Egyptians going to really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the corrupted civil servants, the ones who give out jobs as favours, the ones that spread descent among ethnic groups, the ones who cream profits off the top while people starve in the streets, the ones that turn men against women because it is easy to divide and conquer, we want them f***ed out’?”


  17. Dubh Linn

    When are Broadsheet really come out? When are they going to go up and march on the streets and say, ‘We want the trolls, the sexist arses, the ones who flock together like an unthinking rabble, the ones who have seventyhundred alias’, the ones that are political shills, we want them f***ed out’?”


    1. Anne

      Ah, ja know what.. that one’s the clincher.. You win.

      Broadsheet, when are ye really going to come out?

    2. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      …the ones who have seventyhundred alias’…
      I’ll have you up for slander, you scoundrel.

      I have two names. Both of them are exactly the same.

    3. Dubh Linn

      Sure we all know there are only 3 people who comment in the site who are not the staff …. and since one of my comments has just come out of moderation…. /looks around suspiciously…..

  18. Harry Ramp

    Love to see the right-on defenders of justice here react to see a halting site set up beside them. If you don’t realise that the travellers have a serious problem being part of a modern society, you’re living in a fantasy land. Robbing and making absolute poo of anywhere they go. Secretly, nobody wants the problem, and wishes they’d all just sod off to England permanently.

    1. Nigel

      I would love to see how you think discriminating, marginalising, neglecting and further demonising is going to actually solve the, yes, very serious problem. Has it occurred to you that while dysfunction within the Traveller community is a problem for some settled people, it is orders of magnitude worse for those within, who, believe it or not, are Irish citizens and are entitled to the same protections of the state as the rest of us and who are aught between their own community’s problems and the hate and derision of those outside it? Love to see a strategy from you that doesn’t involve jeering and hatred.

      1. joe

        @Nigel, I’d be interested in your thoughts on my second comment. I tried to clarify.

        Just a note but Association plays a role here on this thread and in society. That’s why I mentioned disaccociation being a good solution in some cases. For example, you and Same Old Same Old had a nice high five earlier when you made a valid point that he/she seemed to be incapable of making. By extension, this suggests you take no issue with the way he/she has been carrying on in the thread. See what I’m getting at?

        You strike me as decent, considered and equally capable of making as point as taking one and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts here.

          1. Nice Jung Man

            You’re not the brightest penny in the purse are you Joe?

            A few days ago here Same Old same old had a blazing row and difference of opinion with Nigel about the issue of online bullying.

            The idea that somehow these two posters are ‘associated’ because they happen to agree on this particular topic is the kind of worthless ‘association’ the feeble-minded among us go around making, given the threadbare nature of their own ‘arguments’, and the need to cast about seeking any minimum measure of dignity they can recover from being exposed horribly by the Nigels of this world for their dystopian views on a public forum.

        1. Nigel

          Thanks, Joe.

          I don’t think I had any real issues with your second comment. I do think you were a bit off on the male thing but that would be a derail. Also, I have so many issues with SOSO, but it seemed better just to breeze past them for the sake of rare comity in this thread rather than get bogged down in another tedious back and forth.

          I don’t think you were trying to be racist, I just think you phrased it poorly when you said that there was some sort of contradiction between wanting to become a distinct ethnic group and not wanting to be judged by the actions of others in your group.Taking issue with a spokesperson who thinks he shouldn’t be challenged on certain topics is a much better way of saying it.

          I may be a bit of a bleeding heart but I am not denying that there is a serious problem. I do think that travelers who are prominent and outspoken might be in a fairly precarious position when it comes to being outspokenly critical about a community that is, after all, both insular and fractious, and people should remember that when making demands for condemnation, and consider that such condemnations might actually achieve bugger all. When it comes to the North, for example, what did whataboutery ever achieve, anyway?

          1. Joe

            I’ve been visiting Broadsheet.ie most days since ~2011 and really comment only on occasion, on a matter like this that is closer to the heart (than my points might suggest). My guess is that SOSO is tirelessly commenting on just about controversial thread on this site and probably has zero interest in Traveller culture when it comes down to it. And if I’ve judged inaccurately there, commentary should be about tackling the point made without getting personal. And I have to commend you there.

            I take your point. I look forward to the day when John Conors is comfortable speaking more openly – on the level you have, and embracing the opportunity to do so.

            In the north, the IRA were arguably as effective and well-organised as they were because the extent of injustice and lack of representation led to broader support for change by any means possible. Someone like John Hume cannot be overlooked in his role in moving things forward.

            As Einstein said, “peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding”

    1. Deluded

      Hi rory,
      I think this post is about Paul Williams.
      Sometimes tabloid journalism is careless and maligns and misrepresents people and communities. In this case I think Williams has his tar-brush out. It’s easy reading and makes no reference to history or culture.
      Paul Williams has taken a personal cost in writing about criminals and has Garda protection, can we extend the same protection to John Connors if he “speaks out”? It’s not as if the rest of us have been demure on the subject.
      I think it is part of the larger question of tackling criminality… they still have customers is a basic point, in my view, and they intimidate those around them.

      1. rory

        P.S. That video is a totally unfair comparison.
        John Connors could whip the poo out of me no problem.

    1. Anne

      Whatever it was about, it all seemed to be settled at the end there.. all he was doing was trying to get his jacket and Connors stood in front of him or something.

      Tis all part of the culture I suppose, batin’ each other to a pulp and that.

  19. Rob_G

    At the 2006 census, there were an estimated 22,369 Travellers in Ireland. I actually find it difficult to believe the right-on types claiming that there isn’t a wider problem of criminality among the Travelling community when such a tiny group manages to account for such a large proportion of crime in Ireland

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