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Friday 2 December 2016

Taoiseach's comments at Carrickmines funeral were 'disgraceful' say Traveller protesters

demonstration

Kerry Collins 4 & Grandmother Geraldine McDonnell both from Finglas during a protest over accomodation following the Carrickmines tragedy on Molesworth Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Kerry Collins 4 & Grandmother Geraldine McDonnell both from Finglas during a protest over accomodation following the Carrickmines tragedy on Molesworth Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Members of the Travelling Community have said comments made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a funeral of five victims of the Carrickmines fire were akin to "State discrimination".

Lorraine McMahon, Coordinator of Ballyfermot Travellers Action Group, said comments made by the Taoiseach and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin were "disgraceful".

Mr Kenny appeared to say he understood why businesses, including pubs, in Wexford closed on the day Tom and Sylvia Connors and their three children were laid to rest last week.

"When we have Enda Kenny, standing in Wexford at a funeral on Friday when five members of the Connors family were being buried, and talking about he understood why businesses were closed down, that is absolutely disgraceful," Ms McMahon said.

"The vast majority of Travellers are out there like any of us, living their day-to-day lives and are forced to live in horrific conditions," she added.

"When Enda Kenny was at Garda Golden's funeral, he didn't talk about the bad eggs in the force. There would have been public uproar," she continued.

Mr Kenny had said there had been "incidents on some occasions where things have got out of hand".

Minister Howlin, who is also a Wexford TD, said that he "understood" some pubs closing, adding: "I think maybe the unavailability of alcohol is not a bad thing."

Action

Neither the Department of the Taoiseach nor Public Expenditure and Reform wished to respond when contacted by the Herald.

Ms McMahon was attending a protest outside the Dail demanding action on Traveller accommodation and perceived racism.

The protest, organised by all-Ireland Traveller forum Minceirs Whiden, was attended by Travellers from all across the country.

Martin Collins of Pavee Point said he was "impressed" with the turnout, and that he hoped the community would "continue to be dignified and disciplined" in their campaign.

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