Thursday, December 28, 2006

Traveller Ping-Pong with Brenda

Ping (Incoming)

Peter, We definitely are listening to different travellers spokesmen - I've yet to hear any of them come out, proactively, to condemn bad traveller behaviour, like that wedding in Kildare last month where the table cloths and floors ended up splattered with blood after a savage battle - all you will hear are complaints and prosecutions against hoteliers who will refuse to accept such celebrations in future. Let's see if we can figure out why that restaurant might be reluctant to roll out the red carpet for a traveller hooley next time? And I was reported to the Equality Authority by Pavee Point for having the temerity to ask them for a comment on the disgusting state in which a gang of travellers left the Sugar Loaf a few years back - all I did was ask whether, if it did indeed turn out to be the work of travellers, they'd be prepared to condemn it!! And I don't know why you conclude that only 'involuntary sterilisation' will stop them producing large families in inadequate accomodation - none of the rest of us need to be sterilised to stop us having 15 children we can't afford, or is it the case that travellers haven't yet figured out where all these kids are coming from? It's called personal responsibility, Peter, and it's time somebody started expecting it from the travelling community.

And I don't believe for a second that there are 1000 traveller families without accomodation - there are only around 1000 traveller families in the whole country, and certainly I know that any I have ever spoken to, or heard interviewed, will tell you, as one father of 11 told me on the radio recently, that they were given houses but, for one reason or another, left them - either because they had trashed the place or else they couldn't get on with the neighbours. And it doesn't seem to matter whether these neighbours are settled or travellers - in the latter case, in fact, they're more likely to get involved in feuding with other families. I don't believe that there is any need for positive discrimination in a workplace that has needed to import a quarter of a million workers - the travellers and their apologists really need to start asking themselves why they are viewed as they are by the settled community, and they need to start addressing it themselves, rather than lecturing the rest of us. That course of action is clearly not working. Regards, Brenda

Pong (Outgoing)

A January 2005 submission by the Centre On Housing Rights & Evictions (a Geneva-based NGO) to the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, quotes “the Department of Environment estimates that 700 Traveller families currently live by the roadside, while another 350 are sharing accommodation with relatives to avoid eviction from the roadside.” Try visiting which provides an extensive breakdown of Dept of Environment data regarding total number of travellers and where they are accommodated. It claims approx 25,000 travellers in Ireland, while the Dept of Environment identifies 6,453 families and a detailed breakdown of their accomodation status - it seems they may not all be breeding at the rate you promote.

As for Pavee Point reporting you to the Equality Authority, is it just possible that your inquiry regarding the Sugarloaf may have been expressed in a tone similar to your Sunday Times article and your emails - hardly an example of disinterested journalistic impartiality. Regards etc

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