From top: Irish Independent security editor Paul Williams and actor John Connors
Last night RTÉ2 broadcast the documentary I Am Traveller, fronted by John Connors.
The documentary included footage from a ‘Save Our Community’ meeting in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on October 8, 2015.
The meeting, which was chaired by security editor of the Irish Independent Paul Williams, saw those in attendance discuss rural crime. It followed the jailing of seven men for the aggravated burglary of the Corcoran family in Thurles in 2013.
Two days before the meeting in Thurles, Mr Williams did an interview with Niall Delaney on Ocean FM about Travellers and crime, following the sentencing in relation to the Corcoran burglary.
From that interview…
Niall Delaney: “Paul what’s your views on this? You’re claiming that these seven are part of a wider network of family-based gangs, which is very worrying for a lot of people.”
Paul Williams: “Well they’re not just family based but they’ve very strong links with the Travelling community which is controversial I know but it’s a fact. There are two, they are using networks, they’re using them down in Sligo, the same way they use them in Mayo and different places. They have people all over the country who are related through marriage and extended families. They identify and pick out targets and that’s what happened in Tipperary two years with the Corcoran family… You saw them when they were leaving the court, when there were these orangutans coming out. The only reason they weren’t dragging their knuckles behind them was because they were in handcuffs. And I think the visceral reaction from the public last week was extraordinary because people have become desensitised to a lot of this but, Jesus, there was some serious sense of anger everywhere. Everybody was talking about it and they’re the kind of people who are responsible for this kind of crime.”
In I Am Traveller, Mr Connors attended the community meeting in Thurles and, a few weeks later, spoke with Mr Williams about the meeting.
From their discussion:
John Connors: “I went to Thurles that time and it seemed to be, the general consensus in the room, from the settled people and the farmers, people who worked in agriculture, that this was an exclusive Travellers’… rural crime.”
Paul Williams: “No, in fact, I think you’re wrong, there was little mention, the elephant in the room yeah, there was mumbling, yeah but they were mumbling about it amongst themselves…”
Connors: “Yeah, 100 per cent.”
Williams: “But, yet again, an awful lot of people didn’t want to express that.”
Connors: “Why do you think? Do you think it’s fear? There was one particular person, a man who talked about an experience he had with a Traveller and there was a big, great laugh about it and then the farmer went on to say that this sort of criminality is ingrained in these people and I think that’s very damaging because criminality wasn’t ingrained in me, we’re never…”
Williams: “But you’re being let down by the criminal element all the time, John.”
Connors: “100 per cent, I agree. But I, but, but…”
Williams: “I think one of the things…”
Connors: “Do you not think there’s a problem with generalisation though, within the media..’
Williams: “No, I’ll tell you why…”
Connors: “The media, like, kind of run amok sometimes I think.”
Connors: “With stereotypes…”
Williams: “We can talk about that but..”
Connors: “With flashy headlines and sensationalism, for instance, the Corcoran burglary right? A lot of headlines described that as a Traveller gang, not travelling gang – as in travelling from Dublin down to Tipperary…”
Williams: “Yeah, it was Traveller gang, yeah. The two Joyce brothers are the main players in that gang.”
Connors: “Yeah, yeah. But there was seven people involved in the gang. Four of them were settled people, three were Travellers. What they did was horrible.”
Williams: “Were they settled now or were they settled Travellers?”
Connors: “No they were settled people, absolutely not Travellers, four settled people, three Travellers – gets called a Traveller gang. Do you think that’s fair?”
Williams: “I would say it’s fair because…”
Connors: “It’s fair?
Williams: “The people who run the gang were Travellers and were and they were notorious for, they were specifically involved in dozens and dozens of robberies around the country. The Travelling community have a big, big problem and it’s clear, from talking to you that, you know, that you and you’re challenging me about the media and media perceptions and what we say about you. And it’s society’s fault and it’s the guards fault, and it’s everybody’s fault and – to a degree – it is society’s fault, to a degree. But it is also your fault, as a community and ethnic group, but when is the Travelling community really going to 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 their own people, we want them fucked out?”
Watch I Am Traveller back in full here
can we have a ban on the when are the so so ‘s going to come out comments we had last week. I’m currently considering a lock in.
God, but Paul Williams is such a prick
Williams is some troll in fairness. He could teach us all
Maybe when they get the idea that the settled community doesn’t loathe and revile them? Because otherwise who are they demonstrating for? What will it achieve? Will it just make them targets for people in and outside their communities? And while they get mockery and revulsion from one what might they get from the other? There’s also a wonderful element of Catholicism here, with Williams playing the fatherly priest urging people to put on hair shirts and atone for other people’s sins. If there’s a constructive, creative vision for what Travelers can do to fix their own problems, that’s not it.
Nigel – your beloved travellers are the ones mired in Catholicism.
So that makes it okay to keep crucifying them.
good catholics enjoy a bit of crucifixion
No. But if they commit crimes then they should be criticised and held accountable.
Wow, uncontroversial. Oh, wait, you mean, Travelers who haven’t committed crimes should be criticised and held responsible for those who do? Over and over and over again? Every time they say or do anything? You don’t mean that do you?
You mean the ones who *commit the crimes* should be criticised and held accountable, of course.
Otherwise you’d be saying you tar them all with the same brush. And you couldn’t *possibly* be saying that, right?
Yes. The one who commit crimes should be criticised and held accountable.
The travellers who don’t commit crimes should be left alone.
If that’s true about the gang that got the Corcoran family then that was bad form referring to them as a travller gang and terrible journalism
In a way, yes. Same time, though, when 3 out of 7 members of a criminal gang are drawn from a community that makes up only around 0.6% of the general population, it’s at least worth noting. Same as if they’d been Somalis or paraplegics.
can’t disagree with that
Lots of people could, and probably do, disagree with that, Harry
What part of it would you disagree with?
John Connors is one angry man. Kinda fulfilling the traveller stereotype, I watched his programme the other night and the sense of entitlement was unreal. I want a house, I want to pitch up whereever I feel like. I want to keep me horses in the public park.
Any time my life has to interact with the travelling population it has been a terrible experience. I judge people as I find them.
“Any time my life has had to interact with the travelling population it has been a terrible experience”….
And how was it for you?
Feckit Bertie, I’m going for a pi……
I employed some travellers year before last to do some work around the house. Quite a bit of work actually and he said they would do it all in two days. No way I thought but sure what’s the harm. An army of them arrived spot on time and done a really good job. A couple of lookers too.
They seemed grateful for the work which unsettled me a bit but the real problem or should I say annoyance started afterwards. Two or three door calls a week by others looking work. The word had obviously got around that I had treated them half way decent so Williams may be correct in saying that travellers communicate with each other but, and it is a big but, my experience is very different to his slant.
I’ll be honest and say that I did expect my home to be broken into afterwards but fear is a useless emotion and trust only comes when you as an individual take the first step forward. Would I do business with those same fellas again? Absolutely. Especially the two lookers.