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Traveller organisations urge mourners to avoid mass gatherings at funerals

Yesterday, video footage emerged of a large Traveller funeral being held in Birr, Offaly.

Image: Shutterstock/NKM999

TRAVELLER ORGANISATIONS AROUND the country have appealed to members of the community to fully adhere to public health measures regarding the restrictions on funerals. 

A statement released by Pavee Point emphasised the new regulations which mean only immediate family members – up to a maximum of 10 people – should attend church and graveside services and that physical distancing should be maintained at all times. 

Yesterday, video footage emerged of a large Traveller funeral being held in Birr, Offaly, leading many to voice their concerns about the lack of social distancing and the danger mourners were putting themselves in.

The statement said these restrictions are not easy and “Traveller organisations understand the importance of funerals to bereaved families”.

“The reality is that we don’t know who has, or who does not have, the virus – so it is vital that we take ALL precautions.  We are all being encouraged to act as if we all have Covid-19 and that’s why we’ve been told to stay at home as much as possible and not to meet up in groups.

The Covid-19 crisis is particularly hard on Travellers given underlying health conditions and overcrowded living conditions. Gathering at funerals is a sure-fire way to make the situation worse and pass on the virus if any one person does happen to have it. This puts the whole Traveller community at further risk.  By adhering to the restrictions, we can do our part in reducing (as far as possible) further spread of virus and/or prevent any unnecessary deaths.

In the meantime, mourners are being urged to communicate via mass card, telephone and social media.  It is also possible to set up a book of online condolences at www.rip.ie.  

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