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Traveller families plan silent demonstration at Peter Casey Thurles visit

The presidential candidate told the Six One News that “there’s far too much political correctness” in Ireland.

Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

Updated Oct 17th 2018, 9:50 PM

A SILENT DEMONSTRATION is planned at Cabragh Bridge for when presidential candidate Peter Casey visits houses in Thurles tomorrow.

Casey is due to travel down to the houses in Thurles tomorrow as part of his presidential campaign; it’s not clear what will be involved in the visit.

The Dragons Den investor has been coming under fire for saying that Travellers should not be recognised as an ethnic minority because they are “basically people camping in someone else’s land”, and sid they are “not paying their fair share of taxes in society”. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News this evening, Casey explained his comments further.

“I was nominated by Tipperary County Council, and we were talking about the housing crisis and it was brought to my attention three houses were sitting empty and the travelling community had refused to take possession of the houses because they wanted land and stables for their horses.”

When it was put to him that Pavee Point had clarified that they weren’t looking for private land, but land nearby to rent, Casey said that “Pavee Point have not spoken to the councillors in Tipperary that I have”.

This evening, a group representing Traveller families in Thurles said that they will organise a silent demonstration in protest against Casey’s comments: they’ve asked that settled people and members of the Travelling community attend.

“We’ve never asked for houses. We’ve never asked for stables. We’ve never asked for paddocks.”

They said that they agreed to move if land was provided for their horses, which “are dear to us and a central part of our lives”.

They added that the council had not spoken to them about the issue, and that they felt the media had waged a war against them.

“We don’t need this for the country that we all share and we definitely don’t need it for the presidency.”

On RTÉ’s Six One, Casey said that the Travelling Community have been poorly represented. “There are people sleeping on the streets, there are people who are homeless… that’s very poor leadership, someone should have gone down to them and said ‘You’re not looking good’.”

He said that although the Travelling Community had been designated ethnic status, that it was wrong to give it to them.

I believe that it’s wrong to encourage ethnic groups here – we’re a melting pot here in Ireland… They should think and act like Irish people.

“If you encourage somebody to be different, with that comes the responsibility that you have to represent your ethnic group properly.”

He said that we should be “making them feel different” because “it’s harder for children to fit into society and it’s harder for their children’s children”.

Casey said that the president is the “influencer-in-chief”, and that “there’s far too much political correctness” in Ireland.

“I say what I think and I think what I say… I don’t regret thinking what I think, I do regret what I say at times.”

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