Sunday 21 January 2018

The tolerance of Traveller culture is a two-way street

Travellers need to learn to respect the settled community as much as we need to learn to respect them

Spokesman: Martin Collins of Travellers' group Pavee Point
Spokesman: Martin Collins of Travellers' group Pavee Point

Eilis O'Hanlon

Bob Geldof was talking on radio recently about his fondness for his adopted city of London, which he saw as a "madcap experiment" that had absorbed waves of immigrants for centuries and found a way of making it work.

What, Ray D'Arcy wondered, did Geldof think of the treatment of Travellers in Irish society in light of the recent difficulty finding alternative accommodation for those made homeless by the fire at a halting site in Carrickmines?

Geldof refused to make predictable noises about racism and instead concentrated on the need for mutual respect, talking about the area of rural England where he also owns a house and which was plagued by crime and anti-social behaviour for decades after the introduction of a Traveller camp, until they themselves realised they had to accommodate the settled community every bit as much as the settled community had to accommodate them.

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