The Trouble With Travellers


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From top: Traveller boys in Dublin, 1980 by Brian Palm; The aftermath of the Carrickmines halting site fire, September 10, 2015; Frankie Gaffney

Frankie Gaffney writes:

Primitive, unruly, unkempt, nomadic, prone to thievery and feuding — they ride horses without saddles or stirrups — they’re clannish, ignorant, dirty, lawless and violent.

This is how the English described the Irish people for almost a millenium.

In this the centenary year of 1916, the Irish nation and State wallowed in self-pity over this treatment — and enthusiastically celebrated our violent rejection of it.

It is beyond irony that right to the present day we visit prejudice and racism on our own citizens from the Travelling community in precisely the same terms once used against us.

A barbarous people

“Their want of civilization, shown both in their dress and mental culture, makes them a barbarous people… Exceedingly averse to civil institutions, they lead the same life their fathers did in the woods and open pastures, neither willing to abandon their old habits or learn anything new… In riding, they neither use saddles, nor boots, nor spurs… Abandoning themselves to idleness, and immersed in sloth, their greatest delight is to be exempt from toil…”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

But this is not from one of the many sensational newspaper articles denigrating Travellers in the Ireland of today, this is from a 12th-century manuscript, Topographia Hiberniae, that was written by a courtier and scholar, Giraldus Cambrensis.

Like all such dehumanising narratives, it was composed with the distinct aim of dominating and dispossessing the people it described.

Indeed, Cambrensis followed the work shortly after with Expugnatio Hibernica — a celebratory account of King Henry II’s invasion of Ireland.

Echoes of these events resound.

It is more than symbolic that at the “Reclaim 1916” event (a commemoration “for the people, by the people”) a traditional Traveller wagon was shamefully prevented by Gardaí on the day from joining the parade as planned.

The current focus on 1916 might lead us into thinking rejection of English tyranny is a modern phenomenon, but this is not so. There has always been resistance to these injustices — militarily, but also diplomatically.

In 1317, the Irish Chieftains penned their “Remonstrance” to the Pope, bemoaning (among other things) the fact that Irish lives were not valued as much as English lives.

While such a state of affairs might belong in the 14th century, it sadly persists.

In June of 2015, six Irish students were killed when a balcony they were partying on collapsed in the university town of Berkeley California.

It is suspected that poor construction or maintenance were at least partly to blame.

Just a few months later that year, ten Irish Travellers perished in a fire.

Overcrowding, due to lack of space and inadequate provision of housing, has been cited as a cause of the death toll.

Five of those who died were children under the age of ten. There were glaring discrepancies in reactions to these two tragedies.

A New York Times piece about the Berkeley tragedy made reference to bad behaviour and drunkenness among Irish J-1 students.

It was slammed for insensitivity, and provoked a massive outcry from a variety of public figures. Officialdom was not silent either — the Irish Ambassador to the USA wrote to the paper and registered a complaint.

The article even prompted a vitriolic condemnation from former President Mary McAleese.

The language McAleese used in her open letter is telling:

“Today in Ireland we are hanging our heads in shock and sorrow at the needless deaths of six of our brightest and best young adults . . . the vast majority [of J-1 students] have been a credit to Ireland and only the very tiniest minority have not.”

Nobody was so enthusiastic in eulogising the victims of the Carrickmines fire.

McAleese and the other high-powered public figures who condemned coverage of the Berkeley tragedy (in the strongest possible terms) weren’t to be heard so robustly defending the Travelling community when they were grossly slandered in a variety of media following Carrickmines.

While it is likewise a small minority of Travellers who engage in bad behaviour, this defense was not offered by our establishment for them — nor, predictably but sadly, were the young children who died in the fire to be declared among “our best”.

This is not paranoid “victim-complex” thinking, or impressionistic “what-aboutery”. There is emerging empirical evidence to confirm this.

A pioneering study by Dr Fergal Quinn and Dr Elaine Vaughan is currently underway at University of Limerick, and looks set to demonstrate conclusively that there was stark media bias in this coverage.

Using linguistic techniques, they analysed articles in our national daily newspapers.

One striking aspect of the data they collected was unusually high incidences of the words “but” and “however” after the word “tragedy” in articles covering Carrickmines.

The study continues, but the fact such a high number of journalists felt the need to qualify the fact that a fire which killed ten human beings was “a tragedy” speaks volumes.

Predictably, worse was to be found in the comments sections.

The actually had to shut theirs down, but even that didn’t prevent people from venting their hate.

Journalist Gene Kerrigan has written powerfully about his shock, as comments such as “So sad” (posted before the thread was closed), were given a thumbs down by 268 people.

It is shocking that anyone could be so callous as to reject an expression of condolence in the wake of such a tragedy — but for hundreds to do so on all such comments is terrifying.

“Shame on you,” McAleese scolded the New York Times in outrage, but their article was mild and respectful in comparison to how the distraught Travelling coommunity were slandered and degraded in our press.

Incredibly, even worse treatment than this media denigration was to face the grieving Carrickmines families and survivors.

The Travelling community not only had to contend with vicious slurs, but in a disgusting and despicable development there were actual protests to prevent the survivors being temporarily accommodated nearby.

Let this sink in for a second: these are not hurtful words, or inappropriately timed references to misbehaviour.

This is people taking to the street and breaking the law to blockade a road, with the sole aim of preventing a devastated group of people from seeking shelter after an unconscionably horrific tragedy — the most lethal fire in this country since the Stardust disaster.

Is this 21st Century Ireland?

It feels more like Alabama in the 1950s.

To compound such a sickening response from Irish society (and confirm the apathy of the establishment), An Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to meet representatives of the Travellers’ rights group Pavee Point following the fire.

“A lawlesse people, Brigants  hight of yore,
That never usde to live by plough nor spade,
 But fed on spoile and booty, which they made
 Upon their neighbours, which did nigh them border…”

While the 16th-century epic poem The Faerie Queen (from which the above verse is taken) is renowned as a literary masterpiece, such descriptions of the Irish seem shockingly anachronistic and insulting.

Yet, after 400 years of “progress”, such vile stereotyping of Travellers is perpetuated with impunity.

Among the reasons cited by those who opposed housing for the Carrickmines survivors was the fear of “criminality”.

The press must take a large share of the responsibility for fermenting this prejudice.

Who ever saw a newspaper headline that read “Settled people in violent feud“?

If there are higher incidences of violence or criminality among the Travelling Community — and this is more in doubt than the fact that there is skewed and exaggerated coverage of such matters — then who is to blame?

The fact is that, in any relationship, it is the side with the most power that must take the most responsibility. The Travelling Community has been comprehensively denied power in Ireland.

The upper house of our parliament, the Seanad, retains the majority of its seats (46 out of 60 in total) for the election of minority interest groups.

Seats are allocated to panels from agriculture, industry, labour and other sectors —and, of course, the universities elect their own senators.

The Travelling Community are a group with unique (and urgent) needs.

They have suffered the most harmful prejudice and persecution since the inception of the State.

Neither do they have high-powered and influential lobbyists outside (but with access to) the Oireachtas like the interests already represented in the Seanad — yet Travellers are unrepresented.

Needless to say, this issue is not on the agenda for Fine Gael’s much-trumpeted (but lesser-spotted) Seanad reforms.

Travellers comprise .6% of the population of this country.

However, Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn was the first, and remains the only ever, member of the Oireachtas to come from a Traveller family.

What percentage of Senators, TDs — and indeed Taoisigh — hail from the exclusive minority who attend South Dublin’s private schools?

The Proclamation of 1916 promised to cherish all the children of the nation equally. This has been very far from the reality.

It is a disgrace that one of the most vulnerable and persecuted groups in our society is left to fend for themselves, while already powerful groups such as commercial interests and university graduates are extended further privilege through guaranteed special representation in our parliament.

Furthermore, there is just as strong a case to be made for designated Dáil seats to represent Travellers too.

They certainly can be said to form a non-geographic constituency — almost by definition. The Travelling Community is identifiable by the very fact they are dispersed across the island while maintaining cohesion as a single people with a homogenous culture.

This is in contrast to settled people, who vary more noticeably in dialect and culture from one location to another.

By what virtue can we assert that the only rubric for granting people suffrage as a community is the fact they all live in one place?

Again, echoes of how the English treated us resound: “You would not confide free representative institutions to the Hottentots [savages]”, Lord Salisbury said in 1886, opposing Home Rule for the Irish.

If a community is not to be given representation, what right have we to demand they obey the laws we impose upon them?

When they have had no say in the writing of legislation, what moral imperative can there be for them to abide by these laws?

On the subject of the law, the key feature of “justice” — if the word is to mean anything — is that it should be dispensed without prejudice.

This is not the case in Ireland.

For example, a Mr Justice Seamus Hughes not only felt comfortable describing Travellers as “Neanderthal men . . . abiding by the laws of the jungle”, but subsequently refused to apologise.

Indeed he went on to stoutly defend his comments.

Again, this language has its perfect symmetry in English portrayals of the Irish. In the famine-era historian James Froude described the Irish as “more like squalid apes than human beings”.

As shocking as such historical incidents of racism may be, we still — to this day — live in a country where a judge can go so far as to direct the word “knacker” at defendants in court — during sentencing — and retain his position.

What would happen if an American judge were to blithely use the word “nigger” in the course of a criminal hearing?

There would be riots on the street, and justifiably. The fact these incidents do not engender outrage throughout our citizenry proves just how deep-seated, widespread — and, worst of all, socially acceptable — anti-Traveller prejudice is among the general population.

The parallels might already seem uncanny, but we are yet to consider language. Irish is not the only language that is indigenous to this island.

The languages of the Travelling community go by a variety of names: Shelta, Gammon, Cant, among others.

These native tongues, which are almost certainly endangered, have yet to be fully studied and recorded.

Government figures confirm spending on the Irish language and Gaeltacht for 2016 will be €234 million.

There is no available figure for allocated funds to be spent on Traveller languages, but I am willing to bet it is very close to zero.

We hold the Traveller languages in the same sort of disdain the English held our native tongue.

No comprehensive programme exists to document these languages before they perish or become diluted and, of course, they are not on the curriculum of our schools.

No State documents are made available in these languages, and no State business may be carried out through them.

“What need?” you may ask, “surely all Travellers speak English?”

Precisely the same can be said of the Irish language — there are no Irish monoglots left either — yet millions are spent on translation services.

There is no coherent argument for providing such services for Irish language speakers while wholly neglecting our other indigenous languages — those of the Travelling community.

I am not advocating that the same ineffective, inefficient and often disastrous approach that has been applied to Irish is applied to Traveller languages.

I am pointing out the utter disregard in which Traveller culture is held by comparison to the culture of settled peoples.

While Irish is a compulsory part of our school curricula, most people in Ireland aren’t even aware that Traveller languages exist.

The usual counter to all this is that Traveller languages are merely derivative variations of Irish, English or a combination of both.

This riposte does not hold up to scrutiny. ALL languages are derived from another language — English and Irish, for example, share the same root, both ultimately tracing their ancestry to Proto-Indo-European (hence the similarity of common phrases such as “one, two three” and “aon, dó, trí”).

While the various forms of Hiberno-English are also indigenous to Ireland, they are dialects rather than languages.

The acid test to distinguish a dialect from a language is mutual intelligibility (someone from Newcastle can understand someone from Wexford, demonstrating that both ways of speaking remain part of the same language).

Traveller languages are not readily understood in this way, they must be learned separately, marking them as separate from Irish and English both.

The neglect of the rich cultural heritage enshrined within these languages is a national disgrace — and, if not addressed, will be a loss not just to the Travelling Community, but to us all.

Or are we to hope that Travellers simply abandon their culture and “integrate”?

We have heard similar aspirations before.

Sir John Davies wished of the Irish: “The next generation will in tongue and heart and every way else become English”?

A little earlier in Shakespeare’s time, Henry Sidney was more forceful on the issue.

In A Discourse for the Reformation of Ireland (1585), Sidney’s recommendations included that “the English tongue to be extended” and “Irish habits… be abolished”.

The desire for one culture to be entirely swallowed by another is not a desire to co-operate and co-exist, but to subdue and suppress.

The examples I have given of how the English have described and treated the Irish as a people are historical — sometimes ancient.

The examples of how we treat Travellers are contemporary. They persist to this very day. This is utterly unacceptable.

Despite hundreds of years of civil rights advances worldwide (not to mention commendable recent progress in equality within this jurisdiction), the circle of empathy has yet to be fully extended to people from our Travelling community.

At the peak of the Northern Peace Process, Ulster Unionist politician David Trimble (in his Nobel Laureate lecture) finally acknowledged that the Northern Irish state had been “a cold house” for Irish Catholics.

It is not too late for us to admit this State has been similarly unwelcoming to Irish Travellers — nor is it too late to begin to remedy this injustice.

Our society and State need to get on the right side of history fast, or — and this is not bombast or hyperbole — we forfeit any right to be proud of this nation.

Frankkie Gaffney  is the author of Dublin Seven (Liberties press). Follow Frankie on twitter: @FrankieGaffney

Previously: We Need To Talk About The Guards

Pic: Traveller boys with wagon mural, 1980, by Brian Palm; Rollingnews

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158 thoughts on “The Trouble With Travellers

    1. The Real Jane

      Or what about we respect people until they do something to lose it as an individual rather than taking an instant dislike to a group and, by extension, every member of that group.

    2. :-Joe

      Oh, shut up you ignorant sunofad1itchdumbb@$tard….

      Just saying, after all I don’t know you therefore how can I respect you.


    3. Shirley ward

      Speaking as an Irish traveller, in today’s society all travellers are viewed as one being while the settled community are all viewed as individuals. It’s hard to earn respect when you’re being judged as someone you’re not.

      1. Ann Gray

        Shirley you don’t have to earn it, you’re entitled to respect as a member of our society. As a beloved member of the human race, as an Irish person, as a member of the travelling community (much maligned as it is). It is my view that the only way we can legitimately lose that respect is by our own actions. The shameful prejudice against the travelling community in our world is a great injustice. I do my bit whenever I catch it and call it out as such and I’m sure there are more and more people waking up to it. I’m not expecting you to earn my respect, you already have it… The road to justice for the travelling community will be tough and long I expect but we will keep going because to do otherwise would be to give up on humanity.

    4. michael

      Would you give one a job,,
      i did and its hard to manage them,,
      they seem to want to do what the think, guess its lack of training from early age,,

    1. michael

      were you ever in africa,,,
      i never can tell the difference between class distinction money distinction and owning land,
      the religious well educated teacher types will never employ an traveller or an african,,
      the well off in ireland have a knacker mentality,,

    2. michael

      but i never know if its racist or ignorance ,,,or is it all the same.
      i can see people in well off neighbourhoods looking down silently on the poorer crowd,,
      my well off neighbours never spend a cent,, it bugs me,,,

    1. Podge

      Ah its in defence of ‘de travellers’ stop your tyranical settled privilege, dont you know that articles about them can wander aimlessly without any control or structure just like their subject matter

        1. Podge

          The arrogant narcissistic assumption that someone who dosent share your misguided views is somehow Trolling you.

    2. Harry Molloy

      Needs an editor alright. The author has plenty to say which is admirable, but it is too long which makes it feel a bit ranty

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        It never stops being funny watching you try to patronise someone when you’re not bright enough to understand them.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Nah, I’m all puppies and prozak in real life, kid. Making fun of delusional self important clowns like yourself on the Internet is God’s work though.

          2. Harry Molloy

            Didn’t realise you were so religious, doing God’s work and all that.
            Think you might have misunderstood the aul golden rule though.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            You’re right, I forgot to praise myself for giving me this calling in life. Glory to Moyest. Moyseiah in the Highest.

  1. Clampers Outside!

    ” If a community is not to be given representation, what right have we to demand they obey the laws we impose upon them?

    When they have had no say in the writing of legislation, what moral imperative can there be for them to abide by these laws? ”

    The fact you are a citizen of the state. That’s the imperative required of all citizens.

  2. RuilleBuille

    The big lie perpetrated here by the author is that travellers are separate from Irish people and have a different culture. Irish people are capable of a wide range of behaviours and travellers are no different to car enthusiasts, fishermen, music heads, farmers or any other group.

    Describing the 1916 Commemorations as ‘wallowing in self pity’ does his case no favours either. That accusation would be applied more accurately in another direction.

    1. :-Joe

      The rest of your words turned to dust after this line “The big lie perpetrated here by the author is that travellers are separate from Irish people and have a different culture”….


  3. Dcossy

    I worked with Travellers for close to nine years in the Midlands. I can honestly tell you that I the percentage of the community who were involved in some form of illegality compared to the settled community was staggering. Even those who weren’t directly involved were aware and almost always turned a blind eye. The level of racism from Travellers towards non-nations was quite disgusting, especially to the African community workers. The amount of disrespect shown to communities where I worked by relocated Travellers who were given every opportunity to integrate surprised even those who expected the inevitable lack of interest in integration. Drunk driving cars up on green areas, openly using drugs, daily shouting abuse at women who lived in the neighbourhood, and on and on….

    Respect is earned. Not assumed because you’re a majority.

    1. Joxer

      i lived in a settled community (a particular one) for close to 35 years and the amount of people involved in illegality was staggering. Even those who wernt directly involved were aware and always turned a blind eye. drunk driving was seen as something harmless, causal abuse of women who lived in the neighbourhood whether it being psychological or behind closed doors physical abuse was a daily occurrence.

      and don’t get me started on the state of the place when the council stopped picking up the rubbish.

    2. Donger

      It is. A traveller woman came into my shop 2 years ago looking for a suit for her husband. We chatted a bit and she was very nice, seemed a good person. She wasn’t sure of her husbands size so stupidly I gave her a suit on appro. I said,”bring it up to him, if it’s ok fix me up, if not we’ll sort something else out”. She thanked me and said she’d be back within an hour. I’m still waiting.

      1. :-Joe

        Have you ever had any probems with other minorities or even white caucasian settled types that never usually do anything wrong.


      2. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        A ‘settled’ person would never do that, would they?

        Where do you work? I have a wedding coming up and I can’t be bothered going to the Dry-Cleaners.

  4. Owen C

    ” If a community is not to be given representation, what right have we to demand they obey the laws we impose upon them?

    When they have had no say in the writing of legislation, what moral imperative can there be for them to abide by these laws? ”

    This is odd. Why would they be given separate representation outside of our existing Dáil set up? Everyone is entitled to vote and/or run for public office. No other ‘community’ has special representation rights.

      1. Owen C

        In every community in Ireland, every grouping of 25-30k people are allowed to send one person to the Dáil via the general election process. I would not be against the Travelling Community sending 1 representative to the Dáil to represent their approx 30k ‘members’ if it could then be no longer claimed they did not have a moral imperative to obey the laws like the rest of us.

        The travelling community are entitled to the same amount of resources as the rest of the Irish population. No more, no less. Arguments looking for special treatment for any ‘community’ will only entrench further the differences between them and other Irish people.

        1. Rob_G

          A former Mayor of Portlaoise (I believe) was a Traveller. He stood for election and was elected same as anyone else.

    1. Paddy

      We could of course allocate a ‘state’ to them. Spike Island perhaps. They could form their own constitution etc. And live by it… their own state.

  5. Anomanomanom

    Why do people still have this impression that its all just a big anti-traveller propaganda, we have all seen the damage and the carnage they leave behind. They wreck an area dump all their crap then just up and leave. If your a traveller thats fine, but you do have to realise common sense and the general consensus of people come before tradition. Integrate instead of going on on about how the traveller is, I wont say race, but a separate group to everyone else born in Ireland.

  6. meejahoor

    Brilliant explanation as to how internal colonisation works between English/Irish/Irish Travellers. The language used is virtually identical.

    Instead of an us/them funding position, I would love to see some representation of Traveller languages actually in the Gealtacht areas, as this is where many Irish Travellers would have lived pre-industrialisation. There are too many linguistic connections to ignore.

    Also good to hear about the research about media representation following Carrickmines. Looking forward to hearing about the results of that.

    1. Tony

      As someone who has studied both Irish and Cant, there are very few similarities. In fact, the traveling people were never much for the Irish language. That was not their origin, except for a few who left the areas in which irish were spoken. They took the music but not the language. Others come from Cromwellian times and brought their trades with them, while the southern families were mostly traders. Also, it is very very difficult to find travellers that speak Cant with any degree of fluency. Other pidgin dialects are dipped into, but like most of us, English is the language du jour.

      1. J.D

        Travellers spoke Irish just like everyone else and some of my friends grandparents did before they died. I dont know where you are getting that there are few similarities between the languages, I have been working on a project for the last 5 years on the language as a Traveller man and fluent Irish speaker and I can tell you that the languages are very much linked. Also- of course Irish was our origin! what language do you think was spoken across the whole of Ireland until they started repressing the language? it was not Viking I can tell you that.

          1. J.D

            Well nobody knows where the original language comes from there are words which are not related to any other language in it. But there are also words which are Old Irish pronunciations of words still in use in Modern Irish. Many of the words which are Irish in origin are pre-lenition (séimhiú) and this shows that the idea that Travellers came from Cromwell’s displacement is not possible, In the older form of the language, even the grammatical form of Irish is used although this has mostly been replaced with an English grammatical syntax, but not in all cases.

          2. Tony

            My learnings from interesting people in Navan were that travellers had many origins and were more bound by their nomadic lifestyles than a genetic source. Obviously families extended and formed larger groups, but I do believe they had separate orgins, both in geography and time. Even The Táin has mention of travelling people.

          3. J.D

            There are some Traveller families that originally were probably Romani people from England, some probably came from the Cromwellian invasions some may have been displaced soldiers whose patriarch was killed or exiled but the main stream of Travellers has been in Ireland for as long as history can tell. if you are interested in this, I would say you should keep your eye out for an upcoming documentary on RTE in October with actor John Connors who is going to bring forth a ground breaking documentary of Irish history in regards to Travellers which will change the narrative in Ireland in regards to Traveller origins.

        1. :-Joe

          I’ll be looking out for that doco, sounds very interesting…

          Thanks for the heads up and the other info about the language….


  7. Increasing Displacement

    I’m not tarring them all with the same brush but my my interactions with them are more than enough to represent a trend. 100% negative experiences. Most people I know who’ve had interactions have had negative experiences.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      ‘I’m not tarring them all with the same brush but 100% of the ones I met were all meanies and everyone I know says the same.’


      1. Increasing Displacement

        Interesting quote, where did you get it from?

        If you’d be assaulted, robbed and threatened by the same group of people, you might have a different opinion.

        But then again you’re always fighting for the underdog, the little man eh? You’re such a hero.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “Interesting quote, where did you get it from?”

          *”* means I’m quoting. *’* means I’m paraphrasing. For future reference, like.

          “If you’d be assaulted, robbed and threatened by the same group of people, you might have a different opinion.”

          Jayzus, you get assaulted a lot. Maybe it’s something you’re wearing? Also, the vast majority of violent crime in this country is perpetrated by people who live in houses.

          1. Anomanomanom

            You get worse and worse. Its not bigoted or stereotyping if its true. Do you think the vast majority of people see imaginary things, like the rubbish and wrecked area’s travellers leave behind, maybe we’re all just high and hallucinating it.

          2. Increasing Displacement

            Ok so…Where did I say everyone I know says the same? Everyone I know most likely has not had interactions with them at all.

            100% of my interactions with them have been very negative. That’s a fact.
            “Jayzus, you get assaulted a lot” – where did you get that from? I got assaulted once. Ever. By 3 people at the same time resulting in a visit to the hospital for stitches in my face. In separate incidents a stolen phone and motorbike. That’s also a fact, I suggest you digest that and stop talking absolute tripe.

            You’re too thick and ignorant to form reasonable replies. You’re just an angry keyboard warrior aren’t you? Get a life.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            Do you want me to fetch yours while I’m at it? I’d say I’ll find it in 1993 when people last said “Get a life”. But yeah. Bleedin travellers. All the ones you know are big meanie heads and thst definitely means something.

  8. fluffybiscuits

    Its a double edged sword. Travellers are maligned unfairly for years by the Irish populace. They have one of the lowest life expectanticies out of any ethnic group within Ireland. Only this week a traveller child was denied access to a school because of his ethnicity, something modern Ireland is still not addressing – access to education for those in ethnic minorities. See you can look at the statistics anyway you want. If we are to go by statistics then we should be wary of people from Donegal as robberies etc are up by 40% ( . Irish society has a problem with entrenched racism against travellers. And yes its worth acknowledging that within the traveller community there are attitudes to LGBT,women and non nationals that are shocking and need to be looked at .

    1. Podge

      That childs application was rejected because no one bothered to fill in the forms and apply to secondary school, there are rules and procedures in place for a reason.

      The family was unwilling to play by the rules, and now they want special treatment. Should we take a place from someone who has complied with regulations and give it to this child as a reward for his families incompetence?

      1. :-Joe


        I regret to inform you we are all getting worried about your recent failures to convince other humanoids to comply.

        Cease and desist and await further intruction.

        MANAGER 84


    2. Nigel

      people seem to think that a despised, marginalised, impoverished group, one that has spent most of their time during the existence of this state effectively under attack by successive governments, having serious problems with crime and prejudice and poor relationships with parts of the settled community shows that they should be despised, marginalised and impoverished rather than demonstrate the result of it. It’s assuming that these things re intrinsic to Travellers that show prejudice and prevent the problems being properly addressed.

    3. Ramblin

      Travelers are not an “Ethnic minority”… “They” are Human and Irish but do not wish to conform to the system and that is their right just like its Anybody’s right..

  9. AssPants

    If your of a minority, say a traveler community, or the Kinahan/Hutch community it seems the state will crawl on all fours for you; while the minority communities will continue to cry poverty and excommunication…. in the matter of the Kinahan/Hutch they seem to enjoy a personal security service on the ground and private calls to advise of an imminent threat. While the traveling community have just been granted private tuition to a 12 year old student as they were refused a place in a local school. We don’t yet know why the student’s application was rejected.

    I wonder will those of you who are in employment and provide for themselves and their families and are refused a place in your local school as your parents didn’t attend, or you are on the 10 year waiting list or whatever unsubstantiated claims you are given for refusal, will you enjoy free private tuition for your children.

    In the meantime, I am self employed, my bank has refused to sign a mortgage over to me (being a joint mortgage with a previous partner), one which I have been paying for the last 36 months and they bank are aware of same. On my application for such an arrangement (note the mortgage is not and has never been in arrears) on the basis that I cannot afford it. During the application process the bank’s QFA whom oversaw my application could not read sole trader financial statements, did not know the relevant Central Bank legislation to apply to my application, did not understand the accounting treatment of certain transaction within my application and continued to conclude that I cannot afford my own home. The same home I have being paying for the last 36 months.

    If I was of the traveler community, or say one of those “disadvantaged areas” (curious how the locals are disadvantaged as they seem to have a lot more advantages to state aid that any of us flipp’n fools working for a living) I believe I wouldn’t have to pay for my home and now I could enjoy private security and private tuition.

    1. fluffybiscuits

      Take your issue up with the financial regulator then. You have just projected your own personal situation on to a whole class of people and added a crass generalisation contrasting them with the Hutch and Kinihan communities. I could turn around and talk about priveleged middle class business owners who are trying to capitalise on the boom and unfortunately did not have the financal acumen to buy a house but Im not going to make the generalisation as I do not believe that is applies you you.

    2. Nigel

      All you have to do to get a private security service is be a member of a criminal family being brutally gunned down on a regular basis, and all you have to do to get private tuition is be so comprehensively marginalised that people think it’s completely acceptable for you to be denied an education. Meanwhile, I wonder a) how easy it is for Travellers to get mortgages and b) why you seem to be linking Travellers to your mortgage problems?

    3. :-Joe

      The kid in question was only offered 9 hours a week private tuition as assistance by the department of mass-indoctrination before the school saw sense and allowed the LATE APPLICATION to go through despite there only being 38 students spread over two classes in the first place.

      “Oh no, your application is late and now we have an uneven number of students”, apparently seems a bit of a daft reason now looking back on it…

      I get that the system is fun-king you over too but my belief is the Travellers are being kept on a long rope so they can be randomly beaten when the government gets bored. It’s always good to have people to blame ready to go on permanent standby.


  10. Tony

    Adaptation is the key to survival, not strength. And as jared diamond points out, some communities are better at it than others. Darwinian, but true.

    1. fluffybiscuits

      Of course, in Syria they have developed wings to fly away from the drone attacks and some of them have X Men like powers that can deflect missile attacks…totally Darwinian…

          1. Tony

            Which part of what I said is stupid? Personal invective is the sign of someone who has lost the rational argument.

    2. Nigel

      Since the Travelling community has proven fairly resilient down through the decades, this fails as an observation even by its own extremely dubious standards. Evolution is a natural process to be observed and understood, not a social philosophy to be emulated. That kind of thinking was utterly discredited by World War 1.

      1. Tony

        Not true. All societies must adapt or die. Its as true today as it was at the beginning of time. It is hard to say that the traveling community is resilient when you consider the problems it faces in terms health, employment, shelter etc. i think the whole point of the traveler debate is how they adapt to the changing times around them- ie no need for their traditional crafts, no room to live nomadically, the unsuitability of some of their traditions to the “modern world”. this has resulted in huge rates of suicide, depression, ill health and poor education. So resilience seems to be evading them, or else it is being mistaken for strength in adversity, which rarely cures the problem of adaptation.

        1. Nigel

          Travellers aren’t a society, they’re a community with a society. The complexity of cause and effect in terms of their dysfunction and marginalisation go beyond taking simplistic pseudo-scientific metaphors about societies ‘adapting’ as if they were organisms responding to environmental changes literally.

          1. Nigel

            And how useful is that for understanding how Travellers fit into modern Irish society? Can you manage an explanation that doesn’t flirt with eugenics?

          2. Tony

            It is useful to explore past trends in order to predict future outcomes. Its called learning. Its the difference between taking a knee jerk reaction to every bit of news out there, and considering what those bits mean collectively in order to make a more considered response.

          3. Nigel

            I don’t think your assessment above reflects a knowledgeable assessment or a considered response, so either it’s not very useful after all, or you’re not using it properly.

          4. Tony

            What you think is interesting, but irrelevant. The greater wheels of nature turn despite the protestations of one voice. History teaches us, we ignore at our peril or are condemned to making the same mistakes again and again. We have a wealth of data to show that adaptation is the key to survival as the only continuous factor in life is change. Ignore it if you will. Its your choice.

          5. Nigel

            That is meaningless rhetorical bumpf. We must march forward not backwards, sideways not downwards and always twirling, twirling gently…

  11. Steve

    You should read Charlie Weston Indos piece yday. Get the rabble going !!!

    2200 jobseekers told DSP during the summer that they wouldn’t be able to sign on coz they were leaving the country or heading off on a break.

    But surely everyone , even those on the dole, need a sun holiday!!!! Rabble rabble rabble.

    Moyest to the rescue!!!

    1. Nigel

      Considering how cheap international package holidays can be, it’s not unreasonable to suppose people who are out of work can save up for them. But rabble rabble scroungers etc.

          1. Harry Molloy

            ah it’s best to work if you can man, but it’s good to know that we have a great, and seemingly generous, support structure in place should you find yourself out of work.

        1. Nigel

          You don’t have to look to hard to find instances of bureaucratic cruelty or indifference, especially at the margins, but they reflect poorly on the system when they occur.

      1. Ivor

        It’s 30 euro to get a bus and ferry to the UK. If you’ve family or friends, you can stay for free. If you are not native to Ireland, book far enough in advance and you can pick up Ryan air flights for 50 euro. If you’re looking a family member might even pay for it. 2,200 people doesn’t seem like a whole lot.

    2. Chris

      Well yes everyone deserves a break, do we just imprison the less well off. Or maybe that is a bit extreme, keep it simple. House arrest and curfew for anyone of questionable means. Or just console yourself that their ‘holiday’ will be a roll in the mud compared to yours.

      1. Ivor

        I have an idea.

        Let’s set up community residences for poor people, the homeless, travellers, refugees etc.

        They can live for free in these places but they have to engage in community labour within designated areas of these residences. As rent is free, we need to ensure that we don’t accidentally provide incentives to unmotivated families to move there. Separating families and having them live in sex/age designated hostel style accommodation should do the trick.

        One of the major issues we see with children coming from these families is that they don’t understand the value of work. One potential solution to this would be to integrate work experience and internships within the residence programmes. We could arrange placements on local farms and small businesses where the children would learn the value of work as their labour would cover the costs of their accommodation and training.

        Nothing liberates the minds of the young (or old) like labour. Everybody would benefit from a work residences for poor families scheme (we really should come up with a catchier name for the residences). Businesses will get a stream of potential new employees. Crime will be reduced. At risk children will learn valuable entrepreneurial skills.

        What could possibly go wrong?

          1. Ivor

            Take some of the justifications provided for institutional “care” for the disabled, stir in explanations for direct provision and mix with the arguments in favour of things like Job bridge. This kind of rhetoric is already used as currency.

    3. Anomanomanom

      Honestly, if you can afford a holiday outside Ireland and you currently claim welfare then you are being given to much welfare. Id expect a standard of living if I was on welfare but taking a holiday is taking the piss.

      1. Steve

        Ah Chris I’m only stirring. Just playing some broadsheet bingo, we’ve had abortion , travellers and now the dole / homeless. When’s the FG baiting starting ?

  12. RonanF

    No mention of the fact that the fire was caused by wiring that was being used to steal electricity from the mains….or the fact that there was over €100k worth of stolen tools found on the site?

    1. ahjayzis

      I dunno about the first part, but what do the tools have to do with it?

      I’m pretty sure the punishment for stealing isn’t death-by-immolation for you and your entire family.

      I mean X girl got raped but sure he hadn’t paid her TV license so it’s all quits, wha?

  13. Painkiller

    @MoyestWithExcitement, in 1993 you would have learned the hard way the consequences of being utterly incapable of respecting your fellow man.

    You are nothing more than a modern left-liberal social justice fanatic and the penny has dropped on what you and your ilk represent, on how that eclipses any good intentions toward those you purport to represent.

    In summary, you take us back 50 years and worse

  14. Wylden

    I live in the U.S. and can say that the coverage from a large portion of Irish media that I see (which is not comorehensive, I am sure) tells a story aligned with the public view of marginalized people’s here (Native people, people of color, migrant workers), and even more frightening is the alignment of the comments. It really could be the same in editorials from Nazi Germany, British Ireland, colonial Australia, etc. etc.

    1. :-Joe

      Do you mean the comments here on or ones on the general mainstream media websites in Ireland?

      I was going to say that whatever the feck’d up situation like racism going on in Ireland you can always find enough (in)sane(in the membrane) people on here to keep you from losing hope in irish society.


  15. Pat

    A well thought out piece ,that has its merits in that we know what he is saying is in most cases true.. Its a pity this article is lessended by some of the childish self centred comments .. Most of those commentators should go back to their childish selfs on FB..

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