An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Thursday, October 21, 2004  


Love this letter in today's IT

Madam, - After recent confrontations between gardaĆ­ and Travellers, and damage caused to greens on a Fingal County Council golf course, gardaĆ­ have been searching Dunsink Lane for implements used in these disturbances.

Do they have reason to believe they will find weapons of grass destruction? - Yours, etc., tee hee

On the substantive issue of Dunsink, on balance, I have lost sympathy with the travellers. True, Fingal Co. Council completely mismanaged the situation. Putting a halting site beside a dump was unfair in the first place. I have no time for the middle classes using their clout to stop halting sites in nicer areas and I think there should be far more sites BUT the travellers simply do not help their own case by engaging in criminal activities. Aside from illegal dumping, fireworks, theiving of all kinds (like what exactly was the purpose of that guy's visit to the house in Mayo last week and why was his son at the back door when he was at the front door...) there is also the issue of the fact that they pay no taxes even when they are engaged in legitimate business.

The conditions in which they live are appalling and the mortality rate among children is shocking. The councils should be providing better facilities but ultimately traveller families do choose to live in those conditions as 'settled' housing is available to them. And I don't buy the line that they have some inalienable right to their lifestyle (ie living in a caravan on the side of the road - governments weren't providing halting sites for them 50 years ago). Generations ago there was a living to be made in itinerant seasonal labour. As a child I remember them coming around to pick potatoes etc. But that work is gone and therefore that life is gone. In the same way that many farmers have been forced to leave the land due to changing lifestyles so too will travellers have to accept that their way of life is over and now they have a simple choice. Raise their children in a safe environment or demand the right to raise them in squalor. Why any mother would choose the latter is beyond me.

posted by Sarah | 10:46 0 comments
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