We can celebrate Traveller culture but old worries are still there
Travellers promote the early sexualisation of young children and that presents moral difficulties for the State, writes Eoin O'Malley
Enda Kenny must have squirmed at the end of the week when he heard his (now very) former friend Alan Shatter's excoriating line that Kenny sometimes has a "casual relationship with the truth". Because he had had a good week before that. He was strutting on the European stage with his other 'old friend' Donald Tusk, he had an opinion poll that showed Fine Gael level with Fianna Fail, and before that found himself being praised in the Dail by TDs from the AAA-PBP and Sinn Fein. Without irony.
The reason was the Government's decision to recognise the Irish Travelling Community as a distinct ethnic group. This is hardly a controversial contention. Even before genetic testing showed that Travellers had split from the main Irish population about 400 years ago, it was clear that Travellers are a separate ethnic group.
If an ethnic group is one that self-identifies on the basis of shared culture, language and origin myth, Travellers are clearly a distinct ethnic group within Ireland. Travellers have their own dialect, Cant. They clearly have a distinct culture based on travelling lifestyle and an unwillingness to live in permanent homes. By their accent and dress, Travellers are often easily recognisable.