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Traveller group hits out at "hate speech" Daily Mail article

Brenda Power said that Travellers should “teach their children to use a golf club or a hurley for something other than breaking a cousin’s leg”.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

TRAVELLERS GROUP PAVEE Point has called an opinion piece published in yesterday’s Daily Mail “inherently racist”.

The piece, written by columnist Brenda Power was entitled “If Travellers want ethnic status, they ought to get rid of those slash hooks and settle”.

In the piece, Power says that there has been no “outcry” over the injuries sustained by boxer John Joe Nevin because he is a Traveller.

“When they’re not beating their own cousins in family rows,” the article says “they’ll also turn their hands to torturing and murdering old folk and causing mayhem on school playgrounds.”

Power says that Travellers are not an ethnic group, rather “a group of 1,500 families whose traditional way of earning a living has long since ended”.

She then tells Travellers to “Stop travelling. Stop feuding.

Teach your children to use a golf club or a hurley for something other than breaking a cousin’s leg in a family fracas.

“Get a skill. Pay your taxes.”

Martin Collins from Travellers group Pavee Point said that the article uses “strong hate speech and stereotypes”.

“Ms Power’s suggestion that recognising Traveller ethnicity would convey additional rights on the Traveller community is factually inaccurate and her belief that feuding is a part of Traveller culture is also incorrect. Ms Power uses a number of sensationalist examples to hammer home her point that Travellers are dangerous, lethal and murderous.

“She neglects to mention the high rates of Traveller suicide, the high rate of Traveller unemployment and the difficulties Travellers face accessing education and information. She neglects to discuss the racism and discrimination against Travellers evident in every institution of Ireland.”

Adding that today marks International Roma and Traveller Day, Collins adds that the article is “dangerous”.

We believe that this racist speech and hatred is dangerous and that it undermines all efforts to tackle discrimination against Travellers in Ireland. No community should face consistent lies, false analogies and incorrect assumptions on a daily basis.

“Nobody deserves to be the target of this hate and racism from our national press.”

Read: Councillor accuses Travellers group of “playing politics” over Cork site

Column: Is anybody interested in the silent destruction of our communities?

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