independent

Friday 18 August 2017

'Travellers are discriminated against in Irish society' - judge

Margaret Roddy

'I think Travellers are grossly discriminated against in Irish society,' Judge John Coughlan declared as he struck out a number of charges against two young brothers relating to their bringing caravans onto land off the Inner Relief Road following the controversial decision by Louth County Council to evict a number of Traveller families from Woodland Park halting site due to concerns fire safety issues in January 2016.

Kieran Joyce, with an address at 81 Rockfield Manor, Hoeys Lane, and Martin Joyce, no fixed abode, were before the court on charges of bringing a caravan onto land at Marshes Upper, Inner Relief Road on May 10, 2016, and obstructing members of the Garda Siochana in the execution of their duty,

Solicitor Ms Eleanor Kelly explained that the background to the case was that 23 families had been evicted from Woodland Park.

Kieran Joyce had a two day old baby while Martin Joyce also had a young child.

They had been moved from place to place after the eviction and every time they were moved on.

They reacted very badly and while they did obstruct the gardai, it was out of fear that they would lose their children, the court was told.

They had, she said, 'social services on their backs'.

After hearing her submission, Judge Coughlan commented: 'I think Travellers are grossly discriminated against in Irish society.'

He struck out the charges against both men.

Separately, he said he would strike out a charge of illegal possession of cannabis against Kieran Joyce if he paid €200 to charity by the end of July.

The 21 year old defendant had admitted having €15 worth of cannabis at Slieve Foy Mark on April 13, 2016.

He had five previous convictions but none for drug offences.

The Argus

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