Saturday 25 November 2017

Integration, not discrimination, key to future of Travelling people

THE barbaric scenes at the Smithfield Horse Fair in Dublin on Sunday have shocked the country. Instead of a pleasing picture of a relaxed Sunday morning, we have seen blood on the pavements; adults and children fleeing in terror; what looked like a moment in a riot.

Evidently the trouble had its origins in a Traveller feud. For this, and for legal reasons, comment must be restrained. But it would be wrong to ignore the many implications.

These go far beyond the side issues that have attracted attention. One is the treatment of animals: it is no coincidence that the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had a representative in Smithfield on Sunday. Another is the location of the event, coupled with the issue of policing. It would be a pity to abolish a centuries-old tradition, or to move the fair out of the city.

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