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Thursday 18 April 2019

Travellers slam judge for 'knacker' comment

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A District Court judge has been condemned by Irish Travellers for using the word "knacker" to describe people who burgle businesses.

Judge Geoffrey Browne made the comments at Tuam District Court after hearing the case of a publican who has been robbed three times in five months.

Michael Masterson (69) suffered a heart attack and was hospitalised after raiders repeatedly targeted his Derreen Inn in Abbeyknockmoy, Co Galway.

The judge said that "maximum force should be used" against such intruders before describing those who carry out such attacks as "knackers".

Patrick and John Reilly, of Moyne Park, Abbeyknockmoy, had burgled the Derreen Inn on three occasions between them.

The judge sentenced Patrick Reilly to 22 months in prison and John Reilly to 18 months.

In a statement, the Irish Traveller Movement said that it was "deeply concerned" by the judge's use of language.

It said that a court of justice should not be a forum for the use of what it called "hate speech and derogatory or offensive language".

It added: "His offensive language has achieved nothing other than to further stigmatise one of Ireland's most marginalised communities."

The movement pointed to what it called a "worrying, emerging trend" for members of the judiciary to use discriminatory language towards Travellers from the bench.

Irish Independent

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