Gardaí probe social media Traveller feud

Simon Brouder

Gardaí say they are keeping a close eye on a number of Traveller families in Kerry, Dublin and Cork amid concerns about a developing feud.

The fears have been sparked by a number of, so-called, 'call out' videos that have been posted on various social media sites over the past fortnight.

Three videos were circulated on messaging service WhatsApp last week, in which members of the families exchanged threats.

The videos have since been widely shared online.

In the most viewed clip, a member of a Kerry-based family brandishes a slash-hook at the camera as he issues numerous threats claiming he'll kill one of his rivals "stone dead," even if they come to Kerry with an "army".

The threats were aimed at a Dublin-based man, who replied with further threats in a video of his own. This prompted another aggressive video from the Kerry-based man, who had appeared in the first confrontational clip.

This week another video emerged in which a group of men, understood to be members of a Cork-based family, claimed support for the Dublin-based group and issued a death threat against the Kerry-based clan.

While the various clips have been the subject of mocking commentary among the settled community, Gardaí say they are treating the matter extremely seriously and are keeping a close eye on the situation.

It is understood that the back and forth online threats and 'call outs' are linked to a violent feud between Traveller families in Tralee, Killarney and Limerick in the early 2000s.

That feud involved several incidents of serious violence, and many of those involved subsequently left Kerry.

Gardaí are concerned that the current online dispute could escalate and see the decades-long feud once again erupt into violence.

While Gardaí are legally limited in what they can do in relation to the videos - no arrests can be made without a specific complaint - they said they are investigating the issue, and Gardaí in Kerry, Cork and Dublin are monitoring any developments.