As seen on
Traveller VO I C E O F T H E
Autumn 2013 Issue 91 â‚Ź3.95
The man behind the brush
Crowning the King of Tara
Now available in newsagents nationwide
Meets her idol Robbie Keane
Competition Inside AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 1
‘THERE ARE 100 WAYS TO BE A TRAVELLER’
voice of the
– QUOTE FROM ROSALEEN MCDONAGH
enJoy the reaD!
Mairéad 2 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
Issue 89 €3.95
Kian Egan A Voice for Kelly Mongan
Learn how to personalise you r clothes with crystal butterﬂ ies
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Undeniably settled people have notions in their minds about what travellers are- stereotypes fed by the mainstream media. Here at voice of the traveller, we are looking beyond these stereotypes, and aim to explore traveller identity outside the clichéd images. there certainly are 100 ways to be a traveller and in 2013 Ireland young travellers are ﬁnding their own ways to express themselves in their communities. Savannah McCarthy is just 16 years old. And she has completely blown the traveller teenage girl stereotype right out of the water. Savannah is captain of the Under 17 Ireland women’s soccer team, and has a bright future ahead of her. She has made a huge contribution to soccer at local level around her native Listowel, and now she is already making waves at international level. She has shown massive commitment to her sport by following an intense training programme. She has become an important role model in the traveller community for young girls. She is a talented player, so watch this space. Another traveller man who is challenging stereotypes is David Brickland, an aspiring artist from tullamore, whose dream is to become an art teacher. read Michael Power’s revealing interview with him on page 20 where David shares his personal story with vOtM readers. You can also see images of his beautiful contemporary works of art. Other stories to look out for include our coverage of the tara High Kings Festival. read of how contestants vie for the title of new High King of tara as contestants battle it out by performing the six ritual tasks of the na Fianna warriors. Keep an eye out for eoghan Burke’s interesting article on his experience of making a CD at the Involve youth project in Salthill. Plus the magazine is jam-packed with news from the traveller community around the country. If you are thinking of subscribing to the magazine now is a great time. we have just appointed an extra team member to our Sales and Marketing Department, with special responsibility for subscriptions. Leah Quinn is her name, and she would be delighted to deal with any queries you may have about subscribing. Also, don’t forget that there are great goodies up for grabs for readers of this issue, especially for soccer fans. See page ? for details of our reader competition. You are in with a great chance of winning- so don’t forget to enter!
Inside the walls of
Castlerea Priso n MAy/junE 2013
The Voice of
SUBSCRIBE? 5 issues a year costs only €25 Includes post and packing. Delivered to your door. Contact Leah (Subscriptions person) on 090 – 649 8017 or email email@example.com Visit us at www.involve.ie Please contribute to our magazine! Send your articles and photos to Mairéad Ní Chaoimh. Email address is below. To ﬁnd out when our next deadline is please log on to our Facebook page. Contact the Voice of the Traveller team: Mairéad Ní Chaoimh (Editor/Manager): firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Power (Regional Reporter, East): email@example.com Tracie Joyce (Regional Reporter, Midlands): firstname.lastname@example.org Theresa Murphy (Regional Reporter, South East) Marguerite McCarthy (Regional Reporter, South West) Margaret Corcoran Carr (Regional Reporter, West) Martin Francis Ward (Sales & Marketing) David Ward (Advertising Sales & Marketing): email@example.com Leah Quinn (Sales & Marketing – Subscriptions): firstname.lastname@example.org or contact at Head Ofﬁce on 090 – 649 8017 Voice of the Traveller, Involve, Unit 1, Monksland Business Park, Athlone, Co. Roscommon Email: email@example.com Photos can be emailed as jpegs to the editor or posted directly to her at the address above. Voice of the Traveller assumes that the full permission of anyone featured in a photo has been secured prior to submitting. Views expressed in Voice of the Traveller do not necessarily reﬂect policies of the editor or Involve. Some photos submitted to the magazine may be used on our website. Front cover picture taken by : Michael Power
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IN THIS ISSUE: EN WH
eoghan’s Musical Journey in salthill SH
LLE R PRID E W
traveller pride Week David brickland
VE A R
involve carlow excursion to knock shrine
sligo travellers launch DvD youth arts project E LL V RA
E R S L AU N C
24 27 32 35 36
photo of the Month competition news youthwork in action horoscopes Dear annie know your rights Memory lane Wedding snaps
adolescence – a vital stage of development
4 5 6 15
education Debate part 1
When savannah met robbie keane
H M ET ROB
F E AT U R E S
p.30 AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 3
4 | The Voice of the Traveller Autumn 2013 Email your photos to email@example.com or post to Voice of the Traveller, Involve, Unit 1, Monksland Business Park, Athlone, Co Roscommon
Michael McDonagh of Meath Travellers Workshop l aying a wreath at Isl andbridge in July# in memory of members of the Traveller communit y who served in the First and Second World Wars
Photo of the month
COMPETITION TIME! COMPETITION TIME
Win one of the following prizes:
Win one of the following prizes:
Enter for your chance to win!
Signed Robbie Keane Ireland Jersey and Official 1st1st.Signed Robbie Keane Ireland Jersey and Official Team Jacket Team Jacket nd 22nd. 22 Tickets to an upcoming Ireland Match + €50 cash (cash prize sponsored by AIB) Tickets to an upcoming Ireland Match + €50 cash 3rd €1003rd. Holiday KelAirfor KelAir €100Voucher Holiday for Voucher 4th. €50 B&Q voucher 4th €50 B&Q Voucher
By answering this question:
By answering this question:
Who is the Who captain of Ireland’s under 17’s ladies team? is the captain of Ireland’s under 17’s ladies team? Deirdre McCarthy?, Savannah McCarthy?, Linda McCartney? Mick McCarthy? Savannah McCarthy? Paul McCartney?
Answer: ___________________________________________________________ Answer: _____________________________ Name: ____________________________________________________________ Name: ______________________________ Contact: ___________________________________________________________ Contact: ____________________________ To be in with a chance to winning simply cut out and return this completed form to: VOTM, Monksland Business Park, to Athlone, Co.simply Roscommon byand December To be in with a chance winning cut out return1st this completed form to: VOTM, Monksland Business Park, Athlone, Co. Roscommon by December 1st Names will be picked out of a hat and competition winners will be contacted and published in the Names willissue be picked of Traveller a hat and competition winners will be contacted and pubDecember of Voiceout of the Magazine. lished in the December issue of Voice of the Traveller Magazine.
S W E N
s eWs iteM for u if you have a n volve.ie eM ail: info@in 6498017 or call: 090 –
Donegal stuDent kate WarD is sportsgirl of the year BY JULIE COSTELLO, REGIONAL REPORTER
ann stephens, Michael kelly, ernie Draper, peter Martin, tracie Joyce anD noeleen kelly reach the suMMit
siXth cl ass stuDent k ate WarD With the shannon gall agher perpetual cup for sportsgirl of the year that she Was aWarDeD by holy faMily national school in ballyshannon.
Holy Family national School in Ballyshannon, Donegal, recently named 12-year-old Kate ward as the 2013 recipient of the Shannon Gallagher Perpetual Cup for Sportsgirl of the Year. the cup is awarded each year to a sixth class girl who has displayed outstanding personal qualities during her time as a student at the school. “Kate is always kind, gentle, and helpful to other people,” said school principal Conor Carney, who was Kate’s teacher in the ﬁfth and sixth classes. “She was always the cause of unity, never disunity. She has wonderful composure and she showed an appreciation way beyond her years of anything that was done for her. She’s an exceptional person.” Kate, who is a member of the traveller community, said she was honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Shannon Gallagher Perpetual Cup. the award was made during a ﬁnal all-school assembly before summer holidays began. “I didn’t know…I was just there and they read my name!” said Kate, who starts as a ﬁrst year student at Coláiste Cholmcille in Ballyshannon in September. “I was surprised; then everyone started clapping!” Kate’s parents, Bridget and Paddy Joe ward, said they were extremely proud of their daughter. “Kate never complains,” Bridget said. “She’s always good and works very hard.” “She’s a very good girl at home,” Paddy Joe said. “She’s very good and mannerly.” the Shannon Gallagher Perpetual Cup was donated to the school by the family of Shannon Gallagher, a former Holy Family nS student who’d made an amazing impression on everyone she met before her tragic death at the age of six in 2006. “She showed extraordinary resilience in the face of tremendous challenges,” Mr Carney said of Shannon, who was born with multiple special needs. “She showed kindness, grace under pressure, inner beauty, and she had an extraordinary effect on other people. we give the cup every year to a sixth class girl who has exhibited the ﬁnest attributes of being a person, because that’s what Shannon showed.” 6 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
involve cliMb the reek BY TRACIE JOYCE, REGIONAL REPORTER
every year Involve Youth Projects host sponsored events to raise money for their own projects. As part of this year’s fundraising drive the Involve national office team decided to do something a bit different to raise funds. Seven national office staff headed to westport to climb Croagh Patrick. On arrival, we met with a youth group from Limerick who also travelled to join the climb. Michael Kelly, GretB Youth Officer, agreed to come along and was wonderful with the guidance he gave to all on the day. we started our climb at 11am and we were all very enthusiastic about reaching the summit. As a team we had to support eachother throughout the day. As we neared the top of the mountain it became very physically challenging but we all succeeded with the climb. when we reached the summit we stood for a team photograph before having lunch. the view was amazing and we all felt so proud of ourselves for climbing the mountain. we started our journey back down the mountain which was almost as difficult.
reaDy to cliMb croagh patrick
Prior to the climb we were each given a sponsorship card. All funds raised went towards supporting Involve Youth Projects. vOtM Manager Mairéad ní Chaoimh said, “Croagh Patrick was a tough climb. It was a great day out and it was well worth it to see the views from the summit.” the whole team really enjoyed the day out and look forward to more fundraising in the years to come.
Marie o’brien, teresa o’neill , Daniel Mulligan Wtih Jillian carroll (Work pl aceMent stuDent)
kerry proJect create Mural
Members of a Kerry youth group have created a mural to celebrate the heritage of their local area. Young people from the KDYS MY (Mitchel’s Youth) Garda Youth Diversion Project completed the mural as part of the Mitchel’s area pre-regeneration scheme. the young people together with John Crowley, programme facilitator, designed, drew and painted the mural over a four week period. the idea for the mural came from the young people who felt there was a need to preserve the history and heritage of the area. the programme also developed the artistic skills of the young people and gave them a sense of ownership and pride in their community. John Moriarty, co-ordinator and Geraldine O’Meara, Youth Justice worker would like to thank Caroline toal, tralee town Council for all her help and support in researching for this project. the MY Project would also like to acknowledge the support of the Mitchel’s Boherbee Community regeneration Project and the Department of the environment, Community and Local Government for funding this project. the KDYS MY Project is a partnership between an Garda Siochána and KDYS. –– –– –– –– –– –– –– ––
you are interested in attending or would like further information on the services of national traveller MABS please contact Margaret Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org –– –– –– –– –– –– –– ––
voice of the traveller hits the airWaves BY TRACIE JOYCE, REGIONAL REPORTER
As an ongoing part of voice of the traveller’s media campaign and as a result of a press release that we circulated we were contacted by numerous radio shows across Ireland to be interviewed on what the magazine is and what we do. this was to coincide with the launch of the magazine into retail outlets nationwide. Firstly Michael Power and I were asked by Catherine Ivers of Athlone Community radio to take part in a 30 minute slot for their community programme. Catherine asked us questions about when the magazine was ﬁrst published and what voice of the traveller does. we were also asked
Mabs holD MoneylenDing seMinar
national traveller MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) are holding a seminar on illegal moneylending in Dublin in October. the event takes place in the Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin on October 8th and aims to highlight the issue of illegal moneylending. national traveller MABS, which work towards ending the ﬁnancial exclusion of travellers in Ireland, also work to affect change in policy and practices while at the same time increasing ﬁnancial capability with the traveller community. the seminar also aims to promote the services and supports of MABS for individuals who are at risk of borrowing or have borrowed from illegal moneylenders. It will highlight the need for an interdepartmental change in policy that will ensure sustainable solutions are put in place to address the issue of illegal moneylending and ensure access to affordable credit is available to all. the event will take place from 9.30 to 1pm. A light lunch will be provided. If
catherine ivers of athlone coMMunit y raDio (centre) intervieWs votM’s Michael anD tracie
AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 7
newS some questions about when Mike and I started with the magazine and what we do. Our second radio interview was with Flirt FM in Galway who also wanted to speak to us about the magazine. Martin ward, one of our sales representatives, Michael Power and I headed to Galway to meet the host of the Flirt FM show. when we arrived we were brought into the studio and set up for the interview with the presenter. He asked us questions about the magazine, its history and also some questions about who we interview for the magazine. we spoke about our recent interviews on the rtÉ nationwide programme. we also spoke about our interview
“we are trying to get together some traveller groups to take some slots of air time; in future I hope to develop radio based documentaries to further educate on issues surrounding the community. we are open to ideas for future shows from traveller organisations,” said Andrew. Future plans are to develop an app so listeners can tune in on the go but for now traveller FM can be accessed through www.travellerfm.com and can also be found on Facebook. Donations towards the running of traveller FM can also be made through the website. –– –– –– –– ���– –– –– ––
participants of louth craftMark’s ‘traveller stories through craft’ proJect
with Kian egan, former westlife member, who mentored Kelly Mongan, ﬁnalist of the voice of Ireland. Martin, our sales rep, then spoke about how we distribute the magazine. He explained how to advertise with us or to subscribe to our magazine. Our reporter Marguerite McCarthy who is based in Kerry also gave an interview with Kerry’s eye newspaper. She talked about the magazine and what her job entails. we will continue with our media campaign and continue to promote our magazine with our media contacts nationwide. –– –– –– –– –– –– –– ––
traveller fM-neW online raDio station BY MICHAEL POWER, REGIONAL REPORTER
Andrew McCann is the face behind traveller FM, a new online radio station set up to highlight and educate listeners on the common misconceptions around the traveller community. Based in Dublin the station airs 24 hours per day and is fully ran and funded by Andrew. Andrew said, “I believe my father was going to set up a radio station back in the 80’s; this didn’t come about so I decided to go ahead and set it up this year myself. It was always something I had planned to do but didn’t feel the timing was right. I feel I am now prepared to take on the challenge.” Andrew, who has studied music management and promotion with virgin records as well as completing studies in broadcasting, has broadcast programmes in the past covering a wide range of interesting subjects. From travellers in rathkeale and how they are perceived locally to information on health and wellbeing Andrew has provided thought-provoking programmes about it. He also promotes services and organisations that work with the traveller community. Although traveller FM was only set up in May this year, Andrew has already had listeners tune in from all over the world. He said: “So far there have been listeners tuning in from places like America, Australia, Africa and countries around the world. I have also been in contact with a traveller family that are moving home to Ireland from America.”
8 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
craft sparks flying in DunDalk
Participants of Louth Craftmark’s ‘traveller Stories through Craft’ project took a ﬁeld trip to Dublin as part of the introduction to their Fashion Design and Dressmaking course. During the ﬁeld trip the group visited the Museum of Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks to research the history of fashion and how it has evolved through the generations. they also visited a variety of fabric and trimming shops in Dublin where participants could source and research the necessary materials for their garments. Fashion designer and course tutor, Caoimhe O’Dwyer, led the group showing them which fabric shops she would usually visit and explaining how to choose the best fabric for the garments the participants will design and make. the aim of the traveller Stories through Craft project is to bring traveller women together to engage in the creative process as a means for self-expression and as a vehicle for expressing their identity to the wider community, thus promoting community integration and mutual understanding. A second group of women are working with local artist Patricia Murphy to learn and share skills in knitting, crochet and textile design. Creative writing and drama facilitator Sharon McArdle is assisting with the storytelling aspect of the project and ﬁlmmaker Andrew Grafton is capturing all of the activity on ﬁlm. the project is based at Creative Spark in Dundalk. An exhibition and iBook about the project will be launched towards the end of October. For further information go to the website www.louthcraftmark.com. traveller Stories through Craft is supported by the european Union’s Peace III Programme and is part ﬁnanced by the Irish Government under the national Development Plan as awarded by Louth Peace and reconciliation Partnership. –– –– –– –– –– –– –– ––
tipp travellers set up neW horse association BY MARGARET CORCORAN CARR, REGIONAL REPORTER
travellers in tipperary have come together to share their ideas on horse ownership and to promote the interests of traveller horse owners through the ‘tipperary traveller Horse Owner Association’. the association came about because of the worries travellers have that horse ownership will become a thing of the past for them and because of proposed changes in legislation in the way horse keeping is to be regulated and controlled. It is a well-known fact that horses have always been an inherent part of traveller culture and the loss of them for travellers would be seriously detrimental, in particular to the mental health of traveller men, young and old. the association’s aims are: - ensure that horse-keeping remains a positive part of traveller life in tipperary - Promote horse ownership and publicise its beneﬁts - represent the interests of traveller horse owners and promote positive horse ownership - negotiate with relevant authorities on behalf of association members - Provide information and advice to members - Investigate opportunities for the development of horse-keeping - Promote animal welfare the association is in its infancy and needs the support of other travellers and traveller organisations to make sure the voice of traveller horse owners is heard loud and clear.
st saviour’s get another green flag BY THERESA MURPHY, REGIONAL REPORTER
A great day of celebration was had by all recently at St Saviour’s School in Ballybeg in waterford City. the school received their fourth Green Flag. this time the ﬂag represents travel; the previous three ﬂags represented energy, waste and water. St Saviours is among only a handful of schools across the country with four ﬂags so they were very proud. It is no easy task to earn a ﬂag for your school and the teachers, pupils and parents all have to work together organising events and fun days out. Also pupils who are on the school’s Green Committee organise table quizzes and fun safe walk days where all kids try to walk to school. On the day of the celebrations, the whole community came out in force to support their local school. Among them were parish priest Fr Declan Corish and GAA representatives. two local tesco employees-noel Halligan, a community champion and tesco manager-were also present. waterford City Mayor Jim Darcy also attended the event. He was welcomed to the school by the principal of St Saviour’s Ms Fitzgerald and vice Principal Ms Power. He was welcomed to the school in Polish and Irish by some of the students. the Mayor said that excellence comes with teamwork and that the pupils and teachers should be very proud and keep up the hard work. He wished them luck in working towards their next ﬂag which will represent biodiversity. Local Garda Mary Murphy spoke next. She said she has travelled to Cork, Mayo, tipperary and Dungarvan but St Saviour’s School was the only school she saw with four ﬂags. All the students in the school sang the Stop, Look and Listen Song for the Mayor and the other invited guests. the students rapped this song and it was brilliant. Students Leah Cleary and April Kiely read a few words about what it is like for them being members of the Green School Committee. Daragh Dever from An taisce and ella ryan from waterford City Council congratulated everyone on receiving the fourth ﬂag. Ms Fitzgerald spoke about the teamwork of the school. She thanked the caretaker Donal who all the kids love, the teachers, the special needs teachers, and everyone at the school for all their hard work. to ﬁnish off the day the kids sang another song that had everyone singing and clapping along. Securing another green ﬂag was a great achievement and hopefully the school will have more success in the future. St Saviour’s is a very successful school that supports children and parents from all different backgrounds. there is a mix of travellers, Polish and African children and other nationalities. All these children are treated fairly and equally at St Saviour’s School. –– –– –– –– –– –– –– ––
Margaret corcoran carr has MoveD froM a position in votM sales anD Marketing to votM regional reporter
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neW high king of tara croWneD BY TRACIE JOYCE, REGIONAL REPORTER
shirley McDonagh With her son Michael
the chilDren really enJoyeD the Day
the Hill of tara located near the river Boyne, is an archaeological complex that runs between navan and Dunshaughlin in Co Meath, Ireland. It contains a number of ancient monuments, and according to tradition, was the seat of the stephen McDonagh With his sons High King of Michael anD stephen Ireland. Staying with tradition, navan travellers workshop decided to put on an event to crown the new High King or Queen of tara. the event took place at the Hill of tara and hundreds came from all over to enjoy the day. the speaker for the day was Brendan Cummins who did a fantastic job. there were many different stalls on the day that related to old viking times. Some of these included old-
nell McDonagh With one of the celtic Warriors
10 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
fashioned tin cup making, pig roasting, old ﬁshnet making and so many more different activities. the competition to crown the King or Queen of tara commenced at 12 noon and there was 12 competitors in total which included nine men and two women, some from Ireland and some from other ciara McDonagh countries such as russia. there were three obstacle courses for each of the competitors to complete and the two with the best time would make the ﬁnal. Paul Kiely and Paul O’Brien, who both had the shortest time, got into the ﬁnal. the two ﬁnalists then competed for the win. there was a lot of amusement and the day was ﬁlled with joy. the winner Paul O’Brien was a strong competitor and was delighted christopher hanD, coMpetitor anD k ay Mccabe
to be crowned the new King of tara. Overall it was a fantastic day for all. I spoke to many different people and got some of their thoughts on how they felt the day went. Michael McDonagh said, “It is a brilliant day and so good to see so many people from all walks of life here today. there is plenty of entertainment for all and plus we got a lovely bit of sunshine.” Plenty of people expressed how they would like to see this event take place each year so we will look forward to ﬁnding out if it will become an annual event.
paul o’brien, the neW king of tara
neW Mental health initiative launcheD
initiative between OtM, exchange House Dublin, west Cork travellers Development Project and travellers of north Cork the programme aims to reduce the stigma around mental health and suicide in the traveller community. It also aims to support individual recovery plans with travellers experiencing mental health issues and develop culturally appropriate recovery models using a community development approach. the programme will help to address inequalities by working with travellers and service providers to deepen mutual understanding and to improve referral pathways. Anthony O’Prey, Health Promotion Officer at the Offaly Local Development Company, facilitated focus group discussions at the seminar which aimed to explore a common way forward. “the travelling to wellbeing service provides me with an opportunity to promote positive mental health and suicide awareness among travellers in Offaly,” said Ms McDonagh. “I place an emphasis upon the natural coping abilities and strengths of the people I support and their families. Building positive relationships, advocating on behalf of service users and developing individualised recovery plans is central to thoMas Mccann my approach. I am also building strong links with mental health services locally in order to ensure culturally appropriate responses th Offaly traveller Movement (OtM) held a seminar on June 20 which for travellers,”she said. explored the mental health and wellbeing of travellers. there were Matt York, Health Coordinator at Offaly traveller Movement said: “the between 70 and 75 people in attendance and over half of them were unacceptable levels of discrimination, exclusion and outright racism that members of the traveller community. the mix of travellers, traveller members of the traveller community are forced to endure is having a organisations and other service providers on the day led to a highly disastrous effect upon meaningful and productive engagement. the seminar heard that suicide mental health, leaving us rates among the traveller community are six times higher than in the with the crisis we see today. settled population, accounting for at least 11% of all deaths. Decisive action is needed thomas McCann was the keynote speaker on the day. He spoke about the now to ensure adequate, very high suicide rates within the traveller community, the high number culturally appropriate of travellers on anti- depressants and in psychiatric units and the huge services are available and stigma and shame which still exists around issues of mental health within accessible to travellers, but the community. Mr McCann went on to explain how experiences of social of equal importance are exclusion, discrimination, racism, and negative stereotypes of the traveller strategies to combat such community over many generations had led to the current situation. racism and discrimination Sandra McDonagh, Mental Health Social worker, Offaly traveller at its source, within wider Movement launched the new travelling to wellbeing programme. A new society.” the seminar highlighted how health statistics for travellers in general are poor. with this seminar l arry scully otM Men’s Worker OtM hope to make people aware of this and also show them that help and support is there for them if required. we hope to see an increase in the health of the traveller community in the coming years. BY TRACIE JOYCE, REGIONAL REPORTER. PHOTOS BY MICHAEL POWER
hats off to finbar furey for Winning the hit on rtÉ. What a legenD! What a great song.‘the l ast great love song’
AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 11
BY TRACIE JOYCE, REGIONAL REPORTER PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL POWER
t e m h a n n a v a S n Whe FROM QUALIFIERS IN RUSSIA TO COMPETING IN ROMANIA, RISING STAR SAVANNAH MCCARTHY IS GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH IN HER FOOTBALL
CAREER. SHE RECENTLY HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET HER IDOL
ROBBIE KEANE IN A ONE-OFF INTERVIEW WITH THE VOICE OF THE TRAVELLER MAGAZINE.
SAVANNAH WITH HER FATHER STEPHEN AND JAMES O’LEARY, INVOLVE CEO
12 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
Robbie the under 17 republic of ireland Women’s international soccer team has been captained by rising star savannah Mccarthy (16) for the past two years. savannah who comes from listowel in co kerry has had a passion for football since she was six years old. starting out at her ﬁrst club-listowel celtic- at six years of age savannah was spotted as a talented footballer. she went on to play for local clubs before doing her ﬁrst trials for the u15 ireland women’s team. after being chosen to play for the women’s irish team at just 15 years of age savannah was well on her way to a successful career in football.
ROBBIE KEANE & SAVANNAH MCCARTHY
SUMMer 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 13
InSPIrAtIOnAL wOrDS FrOM rOBBIe
PASSING ON THE KNOWLEDGE
speaking in the republic of ireland’s team hotel in portmarnock, captain robbie keane said, “it’s great to meet savannah here today. being so far away from home in la, it’s difficult to get the time to meet members of our underage squads. savannah is a very talented girl and represents the traveller community very well while lining out for ireland. i still get the same sense of pride when i pulled on the green jersey when i was savannah’s age as i do today at senior level. i wish her a long and fruitful career both on and off the pitch.”
FAI PROMOTE TRAVELLER PARTICIPATION IN FOOTBALL fai ceo John Delaney said, “We have worked very hard in the fai to encourage participation in football from people from every background, including members of the travelling community through our intercultural programme. the fai is committed to promoting not only women in football, but also taking imperative steps towards combating discrimination of the traveller community in sports. savannah is a credit to both her family and the traveller community. she has an extremely bright future ahead of her.”
14 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
JOHN DEL ANEY, FAI AND CHRISTOPHER HAND
savannah was captain of the u15 ireland women’s team before she became captain of the u17 team. the trials for the u17 team happened in belarus earlier this year. the team qualiﬁed for the ﬁrst round but were beaten in the second qualiﬁer round. they had played the qualiﬁers in russia. the next round is at the end of september in romania where the team play romania, iceland and spain. savannah, although she is captain of the u17 team, has also played a few games with the u19 team. savanna was in scotland for two friendly games where she was asked to play with them. if the team win their games in romania they will be in the ﬁnals which will take place in england. commenting on being captain of her team savannah said, “i love being captain. We play for our country which is unreal and we don’t really see one person as the captain. We all captain the team and we all hold as much responsibility as eachother. i am very proud to be the captain of my team.” as a member of the traveller community savannah was glad to tell us she has never suffered any discrimination in her football career. “the training involved can be hard,” said savannah. “i train every day for 4-5 hours but it’s essential to keep up a good performance”. i asked savannah where she sees herself in ﬁve years and she replied, “i see myself staying with football and hopefully i will get on the senior team. once i’m playing football i will be happy.” she also gave advice to any of our readers who may have an interest in football: “i think if a person has a dream they should follow it and never be told it can’t happen. always stick at it and give your all and you can always succeed in something you are
passionate about.” We will catch up again with savannah soon to see how the team got on in romania. this interview with savannah took place in the portmarnock hotel in Dublin. the purpose of travelling to Dublin was to interview her but also so savannah could meet her football idol robbie keane who is currently captain of the senior republic of ireland soccer team. savannah was very excited about meeting her idol robbie as he is the captain of the ireland team. “i really like robbie. he is very talented and he is an inspiration to me and i have always wanted to meet him. it would be great if he gave me some advice for the future and would really mean a lot to me,” said savannah. When robbie came to meet us there was great excitement. We made our way to a lovely green garden to take photographs. along with robbie keane the chief executive of the fai John Delaney also met savannah and posed for photographs with her. christopher hand, a member of the traveller community, was also in attendance and is currently training to be a football coach. We got some amazing photos and we were very impressed that robbie also waited to give autographs. it was a fantastic day for everybody, especially savannah who has waited all her life to meet robbie. We spoke to savannah and asked her how she felt after meeting her idol. she said, “it was an amazing experience. he is just like i expected- passionate about football. he wished me luck for our next game in romania and said he hopes we make the ﬁnals.” she ﬁnished by saying, “i’d like to thank voice of the traveller for arranging this for me and it will be one i will never forget.”
ONE STEP CLOSER TO FULFILLING HIS DREAMS CHRISTOPHER HAND (21) FROM NAVAN IS CURRENTLY
UNDERGOING TRAINING TO BECOME A FOOTBALL COACH WITH THE FAI. CHRISTOPHER HAS ALWAYS HAD A PASSION FOR
FOOTBALL AND BECOMING A COACH FOR A TEAM HAS BEEN HIS DREAM FOR A LONG TIME.
voice of the traveller organised a meeting with John Delaney, chief executive of the fai and robbie keane, captain of the republic of ireland football team. We invited christopher along so he could get the chance to meet his idols in person and maybe get a bit of advice from John Delaney. along with christopher we also invited savannah Mccarthy (16) who is currently captain of the under 17 women’s ireland team.
CHRISTOPHER AND ROBBIE
When we met in portmarnock hotel in Dublin christopher was excited to ﬁnally meet John Delaney and robbie keane. We went out to the area reserved for the photo shoot and John spoke to christopher brieﬂy before standing in for a photo. We later spoke to christopher about how he felt about meeting them and what advice they gave to him. he said, “it was great to meet both John and robbie here today. both men are very inspiring to me and John told me to keep up the good work and wished me luck for the future. it was real privilege and one i won’t forget.” he went on to say,”i would like to thank voice of the traveller for inviting me to this event and it really means a lot to me.” christopher, who was a participant in the high king of tara competition in september in navan, will continue with his fai training. We will meet up again with christopher in the near future to see how he is progressing.
AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 15
N TIO RT 1 A UC PA ED ATE B DE
WHY I’M KEEPING HER OUT OF
SECONDARY SCHOOL THERESA MURPHY HEARS THE STORIES OF PARENTS WHO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO SEND THEIR DAUGHTERS TO SECONDARY SCHOOL. THESE STORIES REFLECT THE WIDER ISSUE OF POOR RETENTION OF TRAVELLER CHILDREN AT POST-PRIMARY LEVEL. IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF VOTM THERESA WILL TALK TO PARENTS WHO CHOSE TO KEEP THEIR DAUGHTERS IN SCHOOL. right around the country there are thousands of girls and boys happy to be in school seeing their friends and learning new things every day. Sadly that is not the case for a lot of children from the travelling community, even though the majority of travellers support ongoing education and want their kids to learn. there are still some old-fashioned travellers out there that do not want their kids to go to secondary school. I spoke to the father of a child in Co Dublin and the mother of another child in Co wexford. Both these parents do not want their children to go to secondary school. Here they tell me their side of the story and try to help me understand their decision.
Michael, a father of seven from Dublin tells this story:
“My youngest daughter made her conﬁrmation, and is due to go into secondary school this year. I did not send any of her older brothers and sisters to secondary school, and I won’t be sending her either. As long as a child can read and write a little, that’s all they need. Children don’t need to go to school for 20 years when all they will be doing is getting married anyway. As long as my child can pick up a book and read it, and sign his or her name, in my opinion that is all any child needs. I fully stand by my decision to keep kids out 16 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
AS LOnG AS A CHILD CAn reAD AnD wrIte A LIttLe, tHAt’S ALL tHeY neeD. of secondary schools. Secondary schools are only a place for children to have fun and have friends. the real learning happens at home where the cooking and cleaning and the looking after the horses has to be done. My children are well able to do all of them things without a secondary school. the things I learn them at home will help them for the rest of their lives. It never did any of my seven children any harm not going to secondary school.” then I spoke to Mary about what she thought about her children going to secondary school.
Mary, a mother of two, says her eldest daughter is due to start secondary school this year, but she will not be going.
Mary says: “Secondary schools are not a place for young girls. If I send my daughter, all she would be listening to is girls chatting about all their boyfriends, dirty language and in some all girl secondary schools I hear you have boys in cars pulling up outside schools collecting young girls on their lunch breaks. I am not saying that all girls are like this, but my daughter’s education is a small sacriﬁce
to make for her to keep a clean name. As long as my daughter has a clean decent name, she will be married. I also think when she does not listen to chat about boyfriends at home, I do not want her listening to it in school. Leaving my daughter out of secondary school is kind of the normal thing to do in my family. A girl’s place is at home, helping with the children, and cooking and cleaning. I am very good to my daughter. She has the best clothes, she goes to all family weddings and parties, she has a top phone, and loads of friends. As long as they can read and write that’s all they need. I think I am doing the right thing for my daughter’s future.” Both parents allow me to have a quick word with the two children mentioned in this story. the two of them are devastated that they are not allowed to keep going to school. Both children say that they will miss their friends. they both think they will lose touch with their friends as they will have nothing to talk about with them anymore. they tell me: “when our friends are talking about school it sounds so exciting. Our friends will not want to hear about our day at home, cleaning and babysitting.” Both kids agree that their parents know best and even though they are sad, they know their parents are doing what they think is right for them. Michael and Mary say, “At the end of the day, we are travellers, and we have a different way of raising our children than settled people. we try to protect them from the everyday world of dirty language, children having boyfriends so young, and many other things. we only want what’s best for our children. we will go to any lengths to protect them and if that means no secondary school then so be it.”
Adolescence – a vital stage of development By Michael Kelly
they can get a lot of bad press, can’t they? teenagers/adolescents/pre-adults… call them what you will. Society seems to be forever asking them to hurry up, get to college, get a job and contribute to the greater good. the thinking seems to be that this ‘transition phase’ is all good and well but ‘real life’ lies ahead and it’s best get there as quickly as possible. But how much do we really understand the teenage world? How tuned in are we to their needs? And, as youth workers, how can we respond in a way that validates the young person’s experience?
It’s helpful to look to others who have walked this ground before us and worked out some of the answers. erik erikson wrote about adolescence as ‘a transition from childhood to adulthood’, with the young person ‘moving from the notion of “we” to a new understanding of “I”. ‘It is a time’, he says, ‘of learning about personal strengths and weaknesses. It can also be a time of anxiety in the face of new emotions, physical changes and a sense of limitations. Ideally, the young person accepts his / her identity as a unique individual with limited gifts and strengths.’
He went on to explore the potential crisis that can develop at this stage (noting that CrISIS means both danger and opportunity). Adolescence, he proposes, is about seeking a balance between two opposite states, that of identity versus identity confusion. • Identity is that of knowing we are; being stable, reliable, unique; comfortable in our sex role; comfortable with career plans; inner-directed; having a sense of agency; having a sense of vocation. • Identity confusion, on the other hand, can leave one fragmented, outer-directed, overly dependent; conforming; confused about and rejecting sex role; being unpredictable for its own sake; unwilling to set rules or to rule things out. Youth workers primarily work with young people in the stage of adolescence. we have a unique opportunity to assist them in ﬁnding this balance that erikson speaks about, handle the dangers of the stage and grab all opportunities that come their way. Michael Kelly is the Youth Officer with Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board and has over 25 years’ experience in youth work, both overseas and in Ireland.
AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 17
By eoghan Burke
HILL LT SA IN Y E N R U JO L A C SI U M ’S EOGHAN When offered a place in a Masters in Community Music at the Irish World Academy, Limerick, last August, I was presented with the opportunity of discovering new musical genres, people and cultures. I set a goal at the start of my year’s study to open my mind as much as possible to the many music and musical practices I was exposed to. As a mature student with over ten years’ experience performing and recording my own music with my act Fia Rua, and performing in a variety of genres from trad to metal, going back to school was quite a change, and quite a challenge. Having always possessed a fascination with the culture, history and music of the travelling people, I decided to write my semester one research paper on the music of the travelling people from a ‘community music’ perspective. As fate would have it, I discovered there had been a lot of research work and projects already carried out at the Irish world Academy in the area of the travelling people. A tutor (róisín ní Galloglaigh), who was teaching me some songs associated with the travelling people, mentioned the nOMAD project, which had been a project associated with the college and the music of the travelling people. I was blessed to ﬁnd
eoghan With MeMbers of the Music class 18 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
a whole room in the college library dedicated to the area. needless to say, I spent many hours, and learned much about the travelling people in that little room: from pipers to ﬁddlers, Dorans to Fureys, and of course the great singers like Maggie Barry and Pecker Dunne. For my work placement in semester two I was delighted to be asked to work alongside eoghan burke With youth Worker tracy friel anD the Musical gang tracy Friel with a group of towards the ﬁnal weeks of the project, young travelling people at tracy and I invited guests including family the Involve Salthill youth project at the members of the participants to attend a Cúl trá site in Lower Salthill, Galway. concert on the site. I was ﬁlled with pride the idea was to conduct a 15 week as I watched each child and young adult music based programme with 25 young sing and play with conﬁdence in front travellers between the ages of 7 to 25. of the audience. Performance seemed tracy had been working on the project to come natural to many of the kids. before I came along, and had a lot of the following week we went to the local the foundation work in place. Although parish church in Salthill and recorded an there were nerves on my ﬁrst day, I album! with the help of sound engineer was also aware of the opportunity I had will O’Conner, each of the participants been presented with- as someone from recorded a song or a tune and brought the settled population to help improve home their very own CD. the understanding between settled and travelling people in Ireland. we the project reminded me of the power decided to split the participants into two and importance of music and song, groups, splitting the younger kids and especially amongst the travelling the older participants. each child in the community. It is also a great example ﬁrst group brought me a song, which we of settled and travelling people coming sang together. I was delighted with the together and mutually learning from remarkable improvements each week. each other, through music. I hope to the kids choose their own songs, which continue the friendships I have built with gave them ownership of the process. the children and adults at Cúl trá going Some choose American country songs into the future and am conﬁdent the and others choose Irish ballads (in some music will continue to live on. cases associated with the travelling Participant Joanna Delaney (13) said, “It community). the older group as well as was very, very good. I really enjoyed the learning songs, also took classes in guitar singing and it was great to have a CD. I’d and accordion. each week brought more like to do it again”. Linda Delaney (8): “I connection with the participants and loved it, I enjoyed the singing and when myself, and we had lots of fun through eoghan came in because he helped us to music- a great way to break down sing and he was good fun. I’d love to do boundaries. it again.”
PHOTOGRAPHY AND REPORTING BY MICHAEL POWER
David, 21, is like every other young man his age but his talent and passion for what he does sets him apart. Browsing through his collection which was displayed at Aras na Chontae, tullamore for the month of July, and at the Bridge Shopping Centre, tullamore in June, David explained where his love of art came from: “I always did it as a child, from the age or four or ﬁve I’d sit around the kitchen table and draw, whether it was pictures of stick men or landscapes. I’d just draw what came into my head. For me it was a great way to think, take time out and concentrate.”
DAVID WITH HIS PIECE CULTURES ENTWINED
THE OFFALY TRAVELLER MOVEMENT (OTM) ORGANISED A TRAVELLER ART AND CRAFT EXHIBITION AS PART OF THEIR TRAVELLER PRIDE WEEK CELEBRATIONS THIS YEAR. VOICE OF THE TRAVELLER MET UP WITH
“the older I got the more I was pushed away from it, I continued to do it while I was in secondary school but didn’t enjoy the way it was being taught and I eventually put it aside.” David went on to study computing in the University of Limerick but soon realised it wasn’t his true passion, and that there was something missing. After the ﬁrst year he left his studies in Limerick and settled into a full time job closer to his home town of tullamore. Drawing became a hobby to him, a distraction from the monotony of dayto-day life.
YOUNG ASPIRING ARTIST
DAVID BRICKLAND WHOSE WORK WAS FEATURED IN THE EXHIBITION.
A SELECTION OF DAVID’S WORK 20 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
Brickland course included drawing, painting and print making.” the decision behind this course was to bring David one step closer to his ultimate goal of getting into the Galway/Mayo Institute of technology (GMIt) to study art on a full time course. David explained the process of being considered for GMIt. “You need a portfolio of work to be considered for one of the limited spaces available. they combine your overall portfolio score and Leaving Cert points. From
BROWN EYED BOY BY DAVID BRICKL AND
this score they determine if you can participate.” David brought me through his exhibit and spoke about the process involved in obtaining the detail in each piece. My eye was drawn to an incredibly colourful self-portrait entitled ‘Cultures entwined’. David was particularly proud of this piece as it represented the traditions of a community which is very much like his own, that has shared similar
TRADITIONAL COPPER ITEMS TAKING CENTRE STAGE AT THE EXHIBITION
It wasn’t until the unfortunate and untimely passing of his father that David got back in touch with his artistic skills. “things were spiralling out of control. I hadn’t a close relationship with him and didn’t know how I felt about that when he died. I picked up some pencils and a sketch book and just drew. For me it’s easier to take a piece of paper and paint how I’m feeling rather than talk about it. And for me at that time art helped me express how I was feeling without having to talk about it.” David explained how the passing of his father became a turning point for him. “It was time for him to decide on what he wanted to do and a natural decision was art. “I did a year long portfolio course in Moate Business College. various modules of this AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 21
MINATURE HANDMADE TRAP
MAN IN THE MIRROR BY DAVID BRICKL AND
struggles and faced overwhelming discrimination throughout the years for being misunderstood. He explains, “we had to do a piece on different cultures and were given three options, the Chinese, egyptian and Aboriginal cultures. I was drawn automatically to the Aboriginal community. As a traveller I can relate to them- what they went through, the way their community was put down and looked down upon for being different. I like the colours they use and the way they use them to do very loose,
bright and colourful pieces. they draw you into the emotion behind the art; it’s clear how the artist is feeling.”David took inspiration for this piece from an ornamental mask crafted by an Aboriginal artist. “this image was loosely based around 2012 for me. It wasn’t an easy year for me, I struggled with my father’s death and everything was so chaotic. It portrays the many different layers to life and how those layers were peeled back to form a resemblance of what I am today.” David, with the assistance of the OtM, is currently in the process of ﬁnding the much needed funding to obtain his dream of studying art in Galway. He hopes to go on and teach the subject once the four year course is complete. Other crafts that were displayed during the exhibition included tinsmith crafts and traditional traveller women apron pockets; these crafts were made by the travellers in TRADITIONAL TIN ITEMS BY TOM MCDONNELL
22 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
Offaly through workshops that were facilitated during the month of June by tom McDonnell (traditional tinsmith), Biddy Kavanagh and Lily McDonagh (traditional crafts women). the exhibition also featured traditional handmade arts and crafts on loan from members of the traveller community in Offaly. OtM Director emma Gilchreest said,“we are hoping to build on the success of traveller Pride week last year and we are looking forward to showcasing the immense talent for art and crafts that exists within the traveller community in Offaly.” Ms Gilchreest thanked the Department of Justice through the Offaly traveller Interagency Group for their assistance in making the event possible. Members of Offaly traveller Interagency Group are: Offaly County Council, Offaly traveller Movement, Offaly County Childcare Committee, Offaly Local Development Company, Health Service executive, An Garda Síochána, County Offaly vocational education Committee and the national education welfare Board.
INVOLVE CARLOW EXCURSION TO KNOCK SHRINE
BY LINDA DELANEY
MEMBERS OF INVOLVE CARLOW YOUTH PROJECT WITH VOLUNTEERS IN KNOCK
THE INVOLVE YOUTH PROJECT CARLOW RECENTLY WENT ON A DAY TRIP TO KNOCK SHRINE, CO MAYO. YOUNG PEOPLE FROM THE CARLOW TRAVELLING COMMUNITY AND SOME OF THEIR PARENTS AND RELATIVES ATTENDED. family and loved ones. Holy water was available from the many holy water fonts in the grounds of Knock Shrine.
we set off from Carlow at 9am on a Saturday morning to arrive in Knock at 1pm to be greeted by typical Irish weather. we did not let it dampen our spirits, as there was so much to see and do. Some of the group took a gander through the many souvenir shops and others went to get masses dedicated to
we all toured around the monuments that are in Knock such as; the Papal Cross, Church of the Apparition, the Calvary and the amazing Knock Basilica taking centre stage. Later on the entire group attended a special mass for anointing of the sick in the Basilica. this was a wonderful experience as many of the group had never attended mass in Knock before. the altar of the Basilica was in full view from every angle. we all had tremendous fun and the bus journey kept us all entertained with songs and jokes from all the young people.
THE BASILICA IN KNOCK
AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 23
Difficult times right now will be worth it in the long run. remain patient and the rewards will soon start coming in.
It’s not your responsibility to change the negative attitudes of others; remain positive and others will soon follow your lead.
Be sure to take some time to relax after upcoming celebrations. A clear mind will be needed during a hectic november.
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Free pullout Poster SUMMER 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller
Love is in the air this month as you reconnect with a familiar face from the past. the question is: can people really change?
Be sure of what you want this month. You have all the tools to obtain your dreams- be sure they’re not long-term nightmares.
A change of scene may be just what you need right now! Invite a friend on a weekend break to help connect with the real you again.
You may spend a lot of time thinking of the possibilities before they happen. A letter this month with positive news is just what you have been waiting for.
remain calm and rise above petty tensions with a jealous relative. things have been going great for you lately. enjoy it as your lucky spell continues this month.
For lasting friendships be guided by your heart and not your strong will. Sharing a ticket could be lucky for you this month.
A competition entry will prove successful this month. It’s not often you win but this may just be the start of your lucky streak.
People who make you feel insecure need to be put behind you. You have something that will only shine in a better friend circle.
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Although it is sometimes slow, change does happen. Speed things along this month to reap the rewards of a positive change.
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SEND YOUR PROBLEMS TO DEAR ANNIE, VOICE OF THE TRAVELLER, INVOLVE, UNIT 1, MONKSLAND RETAIL PARK, ATHLONE, CO. ROSCOMMON OR EMAIL THEM TO: INFO@INVOLVE.IE
Dear annie, Someone i thought was a good friend of mine conﬁded in me with a personal problem. our mutual friends suspected there was something she wasn’t telling them and kept asking me if i knew what it was. i didn’t tell a soul and was there when she needed to chat about it. my friend has since told our mutual friends the problem she was going through and also mentioned i knew the whole time. it was a pretty serious issue and as a result of keeping it to myself none of my friends are talking to me and some are spreading nasty stuff about me. i got a message from someone i don’t really know asking how could i look my friends in the face and blatantly lie to them. all this went on a number of months ago and has been very stressful for me. i’ve not been able to sleep properly, i’m losing hair and my appetite has all but gone. i’ve confronted my friend and she thinks i’m overreacting. Sarah
Dear Sarah, It wasn’t right for this person to put such a burden on your shoulders only to make you feel bad for carrying it. If anything you should be commended for keeping your friend’s secret and being there for her when she felt she couldn’t conﬁde in anyone else. It can be an incredibly stressful situation when people are going round talking about you; on the positive side, you once called them friends and now you see them for who they are. there are a number of things you can do to help combat stress. these include plenty of exercise and eating healthy nutritious foods. the most beneﬁcial way though is to seek support and talk to someone, a family member or professional. In these cases a problem shared truly is a problem halved. visit www. stressmanagement.ie for further information on how to deal with stress.
SEND YOUR QU ALL QUESTIONS
NIE . ESTIONS TO AN NAMES
ARE PRINTED U
Dear annie, my son has been hanging round with a new group since he started secondary school last year and they are a destructive inﬂuence on him. i’ve had the Gardaí to the door twice in three months over petty crimes that he swears he’s not part of. a Garda claimed that a witness saw him breaking the window of a car in the town and it was left to us to pay for the damages. i know boys his age can be wild; i’ve raised two before him. my husband and i are in our ﬁfties now and ﬁnding it harder to follow him around making sure he stays out of trouble. he is the youngest and we do sometimes spoil him but surely that’s a reason for him to be better behaved? What can we say to make him see sense? Susan
Dear Susan, As you know boys your son’s age are prone to behaving in a certain way to ﬁt in with a group they hang out with. whether that means going round causing mischief, sitting in playing games or standing round street corners, they do it because it’s what their friends are doing. It’s possible though that his behaviour may just be a teenage phase and something that can be sorted with some old-fashioned house rules. I am a ﬁrm believer in a style of discipline that rewards good behaviour and only good behaviour. Getting your child whatever he wants because he’s the youngest is just rewarding him for behaving like he does. Show him that every action carries a consequence and he’ll soon see a pattern. Also look out for hobbies or sports he might take part in during the evenings. He might enjoy a disciplined sport like karate more than going around causing chaos.
AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 27
D V D H C N U A L S R E L L E V A R T O SLIG
BY MICHAEL POWER, REGIONAL REPORTER
“SUICIDE, DEPRESSION AND STRESS LEVELS ARE MUCH HIGHER WITHIN THE TRAVELLER COMMUNITY,” SAID BERNADETTE MAUGHAN, MANAGER OF SLIGO TRAVELLER SUPPORT GROUP (STSG) AT THE LAUNCH OF THE JOURNEY OF MENTAL HEALTH DVD. the DvD, an initiative of StSG, aims to heighten awareness that many social determinants such as accommodation, discrimination, unemployment, prejudice, discrimination, racism, education, and drug use/misuse all have a negative impact on mental health. As a result of these factors travellers experience poorer mental health and a higher rate of suicide than the majority of the population.
PHC STAFF ROSIE MAUGHAN, LISA MCGINLEY, CLIONA WARD, K ATHLEEN STOKES AND TRISHA GREAV Y (PHC CO-ORDINATOR) 28 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
MEMBERS OF THE SLIGO TRAVELLER SUPPORT GROUP WOMEN’S PROGRAMME MEMBERS OF THE MEN’S PRISON PROJECT WITH BERNADETTE MAUGHAN, MEN’S DEVELOPMENT WORKER MARTIN MONGAN AND PATRICK CONROY
“A main contributor to the increased ﬁgures of suicide, depression and stress are the high levels of prejudice, discrimination and racism experienced by the traveller community,” explained Bernadette. the DvD was developed in conjunction with the Mental Health and Health Promotion Services of the HSe with funding from the HSe. Michael rainsford, Mental Health Promotion Officer with the HSe said: “By raising awareness and knowledge of mental health within the traveller community
we can reduce some of the fear associated with mental illness and also encourage people to seek help when they have emotional difficulties such as anxiety, stress or depression.” the DvD was launched by the voice runner-up Kelly Mongan during a time when the traveller population was rocked by a number of suicides within the community. Kelly said, “nobody knows why they did it. It could have been discrimination but it could also have been for many other reasons.” Further information and details on A Journey to Mental Health are available through Sligo traveller Support Group on 071 9145780 or through their website www.stsg.ie .
A Quiet Revolution
Books for Travellers Published as Part of UK Literacy Campaign A TOTAL OF 25% OF GYPSY AND TRAVELLER CHILDREN IN ENGLAND AND WALES ARE NOT ENROLLED IN EDUCATION AND FOR THOSE THAT DO ATTEND SCHOOL, EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT IS LOWER THAN FOR ANY OTHER ETHNIC GROUP. In 2012, only 25% of Gypsy and traveller primary school leavers reached minimum expectations in english and Maths, compared to 74% of the general school population. At secondary level only 12% of Gypsy and traveller pupils achieved ﬁve good GCSes compared to 58.2% for all pupils. this grim array of statistics will come as little surprise to teachers up and down the country, who have encountered the challenges of working with Gypsy and Irish traveller children. Many teachers have also encountered the added difficulty of communicating with parents of traveller children who have low levels of literacy themselves. recent developments offer little hope in the battle to tackle illiteracy within the travelling community. Since local authority spending cuts got underway in 2010, there has been a 27% reduction in traveller education staff in england, with many traveller education teams being ‘deleted’ altogether by councils. with poor educational attainment comes a reduction in life opportunities and an increase in the chances of imprisonment. According to the HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Gypsies and Irish travellers make up a staggering 5% of the Category B prison population nationally. It is in this depressing context that a reading initiative by the traveller Project at the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain has been launched. “Across the 130 plus prisons we’ve seen a huge interest in learning to read amongst traveller prisoners,” says Conn Mac Gabhann, Manager of the traveller
Project. “In the bureaucracy of a prison, where every aspect of your life is regulated by rules and form-ﬁlling, travellers see the enormous value of being able to read – many realising this for the ﬁrst time.” “working with the Shannon trust, whose aim is to ‘make every prisoner a reader,’ we’ve launched a campaign throughout the prison estate to ensure that this aim includes every traveller in custody. the upsurge in participation has been marked. In a prison we visited last week 40% of the traveller population were either toe by toe learners or mentors,” said Conn. “reading schemes such as the Shannon trust reading Plan (aka toe by toe) have a unique appeal because the informal, oneto-one approach doesn’t recall the negative experiences many travellers have had in formal classroom settings. After years of disaffection with education, many travellers have had quite remarkable success with toe by toe,” he added. As the number of travellers in prison doing courses such as the Shannon trust reading Plan increases, so too does the demand for interesting books. the traveller Project has put together a short series of reading books for travelling people who are just starting to read books. the ﬁrst book, ‘A traveller’s Home’ written by Conn and illustrated by Dublin artist niamh Merc, tells the story of John, a
Dublin traveller and wannabe cowboy. the second book ‘we Are travellers’ was written by Joe Cottrell-Boyce, and is a factual introduction to the history and culture of english Gypsies and Irish travellers. “It’s important to remember that traveller men and women want to read interesting stories,” Conn stresses. “no adult really wants to read a children’s book. these books are interesting and they are relevant to travellers’ lives. there’s a quiet educational revolution happening in prison. travellers are learning to read because they want to learn and perhaps for the ﬁrst time they are learning in a way that suits them. Ironically, the interest in reading in prison is changing attitudes in the wider traveller community. More and more, we’re seeing traveller men in prison who’ve learned to read and are now passionate about their kids going to school, telling us ‘education is the only way forward,” Conn concluded. For free copies of traveller reading series’ books contact the traveller Project, the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain, 50-52 Camden Square, London, nw1 9XB or travellers@ irishchaplaincy.org.uk AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 29
TEENS FROM DONEGAL TRAVELLERS PROJECT AND THE IRISH STREET YOUTH COMMUNIT Y CENTRE IN DERRY IN FRONT OF A MURAL .
BY JULIE COSTELLO
Y B D E T A R B E L E C Y IT T TRAVELLER IDEN T C E J O R P S T R A H T U CROSS-BORDER YO
BEAUTIFUL NEW PUBLIC ART CELEBRATING TRAVELLER IDENTITY WAS DESIGNED AND
PAINTED BY TRAVELLER TEENS ON THE GROUNDS OF ST GABRIEL’S
PRESCHOOL IN LETTERKENNY, DONEGAL, THIS SUMMER AS PART OF A CROSS-BORDER YOUTH ARTS PROJECT. the artwork features images of a barreltop wagon and a caravan accompanied by the words ‘Pavee Pride’. As part of the project, colourful hopscotch squares were also painted on pavement at the school, which is managed and administered by
Donegal travellers Project (DtP) with an intercultural ethos. the artwork was created as part of a crossborder exchange Project run by the Derry Playhouse and supported by the PeACe III Programme which involved young people from DtP and nine other youth groups in Donegal and Derry. Participants in the project from DtP included Chloe Dwyer, Brian McDonagh, eddie McDonagh, Michael McDonagh, Gemma McGinley, Michael Mongan, naomi O’Leary, Brian ward, and Michael ward. Participating youth groups spent four weeks meeting independently to decide on designs for their public art which reﬂected and celebrated their own identities. they were also trained in the skills that they would need to paint their designs in public places located in their own communities which had been pre-approved for the project.
TEENS FROM DONEGAL TRAVELLERS PROJECT WHO DESIGNED AND PAINTED PUBLIC ART CELEBRATING TRAVELLER IDENTITY AS PART OF DERRY PLAYHOUSE’S CROSS-BORDER EXCHANGE PROJECT INCLUDE (FROM LEFT) MICHAEL MCDONAGH, MICHAEL WARD, AND EDDIE MCDONAGH
30 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
each youth group then painted the artwork that they had designed with the help of one other group that was participating in the exchange Project. the DtP group was assisted with their artwork at St Gabriel’s Preschool by members of the Irish Street Youth Group in Derry, having previously assisted that group in painting a mural on a wall at the Irish Street Youth Community Centre. “It was a really successful project,” said Involve Youth worker John McGee. “the young people developed new skills and have put together some fantastic pieces of artwork that will last for years to come in their respective communities.”
TEENS FROM DONEGAL TRAVELLERS PROJECT AND THE IRISH STREET YOUTH COMMUNIT Y CENTRE IN DERRY IN FRONT OF A MURAL .
Donegal Traveller women highlight impact of austerity cuts on Travellers BY JULIE COSTELLO , REGIONAL REPORTER
cuts to traveller community supports. “what we want you to do is to take this report and read it and bring it back to government,” group member nellie Friel said to Deputy McHugh. “we have had more than our share of cuts. there are only 40,000 travellers in Ireland. Donegal fine gael tD Joe Mchugh With the travelling With we don’t have any austerit y report that he receiveD froM MeMbers of Donegal political power, and travellers proJect’s let terkenny WoMen’s DevelopMent group Maria boyle, paMel a boyle, geralDine WarD, nellie the media and the friel , Mary Mcginley, bernaDet te boyle, anD Dtp priMary politicians didn’t health care proJect assistant co-orDinator ann friel anD highlight what the cuts (seateD) rose Margaret McDonagh, Deput y Mchugh, anD Marie Mongan did to our community. that’s why we need people like yourself to read this report and Donegal Fine Gael tD Joe McHugh vowed lobby for us with the government.” to bring the ﬁndings of a national report on the severe impact that austerity cuts Deputy McHugh agreed that the ﬁndings have had on travellers to the attention of of the report, which was launched by the the government during a recent meeting Pavee Point traveller and roma Centre that he had with members of Donegal in April, have not been given sufficient travellers Project’s Letterkenny women’s attention by politicians. “You’re right, Development Group. politicians aren’t talking about this,” he said. “the only thing politicians talk about is the the report, entitled ‘travelling with controversies, like in Ballyshannon. My job is Austerity: Impacts of cuts on travellers, to take these statistics back to the Minister traveller projects and services’, documents for Finance, Michael noonan, and to Joan cuts of up to 86.6% which have been made Burton, the Minister for Social Protection.” since 2008 to programmes designed to address the ongoing inequities which Deputy McHugh told the group that he travellers face in Irish society, including in would additionally formulate parliamentary the areas of education, accommodation, and questions on the subject of cuts to traveller employment. programmes and supports to raise in the Dáil. Using the government’s own ﬁgures the report reveals that, by contrast, overall the ‘travelling with Austerity’ report, government spending since 2008 has been which was written by Dublin-based social cut by just over 4%. researcher Brian Harvey, found that there have been deep, across-the-board austerity Deputy McHugh received the report at cuts to programmes designed to level the Donegal travellers Project from members playing ﬁeld for travellers in Ireland. these of the women’s group, who asked that he do include an everything in his power to prevent further
86.6% cut in funding for traveller educational supports such as the visiting teacher Service for traveller education, Senior traveller training Centres, traveller preschools and school transport support for travellers – all of which have been discontinued as a result. “education is still a big issue for the traveller community, and while most young travellers now go on to secondary school, 63% leave before the Junior Cert,” group member Pamela Boyle said to Deputy McHugh. “this means it is really difficult for travellers to get professional qualiﬁcations and has a bad impact on our chances of getting employment.” Local traveller community development projects such as Donegal travellers Project, which have been an additional source of support for travellers in the areas of education, training, and employment, have had their funding cut by 42.3% since 2008, according to the report. “Please keep this project going,” group member Mary McGinley said to Deputy McHugh. “Donegal travellers Project gives you the conﬁdence to go out there and try new things. the likes of these groups give people conﬁdence.” DtP Primary Health Care Project Assistant Co-ordinator Ann Friel said funding cuts which have forced Donegal travellers Project to move three times in the past ﬁve years are a cause of deep concern among travellers in Donegal. “there is a lot of fear in the traveller community,” Ms Friel said to Deputy McHugh. “the only thing left in town is Donegal travellers Project. If we lose what we’ve got now, we’ll be back to 30 years ago.” AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 31
h coleTTe iT W S T H IG R R U O Y W O KN RENT SUPPLEMENT REVIEWS Question
I have been getting rent allowance (also known as rent supplement) for nearly a year. I have been told that my rent allowance is being reviewed. what does this mean? will I lose my rent allowance?
Your claim for rent supplement is checked or reviewed regularly, usually every six months. During the review you will be asked to ﬁll in a rent supplement review form (your landlord will have to ﬁll out part of this form). You should return this to the Department of Social
Protection (DSP) officer dealing with your claim. the officer will look at the form to make sure that you are getting the right amount of rent supplement. the maximum rent limits for rent supplement are reviewed regularly and the latest limits are effective from 17 June 2013. In some cases the officer dealing with your claim may visit your accommodation to conﬁrm the tenancy and the type of accommodation. You should return the form as soon as possible to the officer to ensure there is no delay to your payment. If your circumstances have not changed since you started getting rent supplement you should continue to get your payment. If your circumstances change while you are getting rent supplement (for example, if you get extra work or the number of people living in the household changes) you should contact the DSP officer dealing with your claim immediately. You
should not wait until your review as this may mean that you are overpaid rent supplement which you will have to repay. If you refuse two offers of social housing from a local authority within a 12-month period, your rent supplement will be stopped and you will not be allowed to claim rent supplement for 12 months. Know Your Rights has been compiled by Colette Tuohy, Westmeath Traveller Project. Colette helps Travellers with application forms, getting information around housing, health, ﬁnance and social welfare. Contact 087 6524006 Citizens Information Service St Mary’s Square, Athlone provides a free and conﬁdential service to the public. Information is also available online at www.citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000.
VOLUNTEER PROFILE MARIE SHEEHAN, INVOLVE, CARLOW I HEARD ABOUT INVOLVE THROUGH CARLOW REGIONAL YOUTH SERVICES AS I HAD VOLUNTEERED WITH THEM FOR TWO YEARS.
I wanted to volunteer with a youth project as I am interested in youth work. Involve was a new group starting in Carlow and I was excited to be part of the set-up of
32 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
groups. I had never worked or volunteered with young members of the traveller community in the past and I felt this would be a great opportunity to get to know their culture. I work in a shop where a small of percentage of customers are from the traveller community. Some of the younger kids had an interest in handball. I thought it would be an interesting group to get involved with and maybe get a handball group up and running.
MARIE SHEEHAN (ON THE LEFT) WITH MARY CONNORS
working with Involve was challenging but a very enjoyable experience and I have gained a better understanding of the traveller culture.
Gypsy Stew Recipe
th i m S with Terry
2. Kg (4 ½) potatoes, peeled and washed
1. Preheat oven, gas mark 4.
500ml (1 pint) water, boiled
2. Cut all potatoes to the same size so to cook evenly. Dissolve stock cubes in water.
2 chicken stock cubes (or Oxo) 450g (1lb) pork sausages, (good quality) 1lb bacon fat, removed 2 large onions, chopped 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley Salt and ground black pepper
3. Grill sausages and bacon to lightly brown. Don’t waste fat in the tray; add to the pot. Chop bacon and sausages into bite size pieces. 4. In a large ovenproof dish layer the onions, bacon, sausages and potatoes seasoning each layer with salt, pepper, parsley, until all is used up.
5. Bring to the boil on top of the stove, reduce heat and cover with lid. 6. Place in pre-heated oven and cook for 1 ½ hours. Check liquid halfway through cooking; top up if needed.
If you wish to add lentils, use split lentils. Pre-soak in water for one hour before cooking- lovely with soda bread.
Thinking Outside the Lunchbox lunchboX tips for your chilDren Studies show that children who eat well balanced lunches do better in school and are more alert. Here are a few lunchbox tips that will hopefully make life a little easier when it comes to the dreaded ‘making the lunches’ routine.
With the new school year well underway now, all us mammies and daddies out there are panicking and fretting still trying to come up with new ideas for our kids’ lunchboxes. we are trying to come up with lunch ideas that our kids will actually eat. It is a known fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But lunchtime is a close second. So it is important for us to make sure our children are eating lunches that are healthy and enjoyable to eat.
- Cut the sandwich you make into a different shape every day, such as squares or small triangles. You could even invest in a sandwich cutter in the shape of a dinosaur or a princess etc. - try including coloured blue or pink plastic spoons in their lunchbox to eat their yoghurt with. Plastic spoons mean no more missing spoons at home. - Get your child the Coke bottle with their own name on it. It makes it more exciting for them to use over and over again ﬁlled with diluted drink. - Give your child their favourite dinner leftovers in a small container with a spoon. It makes a change from a
sarnie. - Let your child build their own sandwich. Give them a small container with ham, tomatoes, cheeses etc, whatever they like. Don’t forget to give buttered bread. - Sometimes a sausage sandwich goes down well- it is nice and easy to make. - Use different types of bread like mini pittas, rolls, crackers and baps. - tubs of custard and tubs of fruit cocktail/fruit pieces come in lunchbox sizes and are available in most supermarkets, including Aldi. - try giving something different every day to keep your child interested in eating at lunchtime. Best of luck mammies and daddies. I hope these tips help you like they have helped me. By Theresa Murphy, a mammy to two primary schoolchildren and one secondary school child. AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 33
WITH JANE WARD
HOW TO… THE VOTM GUIDE TO…
Glitter your shoes FOR THIS ISSUE I WILL BE SHOWING YOU HOW TO JAZZ UP AN OLD PAIR OF SHOES USING GLITTER.
A FRIEND OF MINE ASKED IF I COULD ALTER A PAIR OF HER OLD SHOES TO MATCH A DRESS SHE HAD JUST BOUGHT. SO I WENT TO MY LOCAL CRAFT SHOP IN BALLINASLOE AND PURCHASED SOME GLITTER. whether a beginner or not my hope is that you will acquire new skills by completing the projects I feature in this magazine. If you would like me to feature a speciﬁc project in future issues of voice of the traveller please let me know by email or letter. for this proJect you Will neeD: • a pair of old shoes • glitter (blue and silver) • glue (PVA glue in most craft shops) • masking tape • a small paintbrush Once you have all your supplies you need to prepare a work surface. the kitchen table is ﬁne but you need to put some paper or plastic on the table because it can get quite messy. So if you’re ready, let’s get started. Once you’ve prepared a work surface and checked you have all 34 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
the supplies you need you can begin. I started by applying masking tape around the sides of the shoe and inside heel (see picture 2) I did this because I am using two different colours and this prevents the silver from sticking to the sides of the shoe. You can skip this step if you are using one colour. the next thing you need to do is apply the glue. Using a paintbrush, apply the glue until the sole of the shoe is completely covered (see picture 3). For a smooth ﬁnish brush the glue on evenly and quickly. After applying the glue you just simply scatter the glitter onto the glued area until all the entire glued area of the shoe is covered (see picture 4) and leave to dry for three to four hours before removing the masking tape.
After removing the masking tape you need to repeat steps two and three with the blue glitter. First you apply the glue to the rest of the shoe and heel and then cover the entire glued area of the shoe with glitter, making sure there are no gaps and the heel and shoe is completely covered. Leave to dry overnight for best results. In the next issue of voice of the traveller I will be focusing on three different methods that I regularly use to embellish clothes and accessories. these methods are glue method, applicator wand method and iron-on method. I will be showing you the advantages and disadvantages of each method and also how to use each of these methods. this will help you to decide which method is required for different projects. if you wish to get in contact with Jane please email her c/o the votM editor mairead. email@example.com or send your letter to Jane Ward, voice of the traveller, involve, unit 1, Monksland business park, athlone, co roscommon.
nor s MaD e for Jerr y bar rel top that Mic ky con ter ken ny 20 yea rs ago let in l ega Don car r, fan aD,
Jerry carr anD the l ate Mickey conno rs With the barrel top
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AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 37
S W E N R E SOCC eDDie’s WanDerers eMerge victorious in ennis soccer tournaMent Clare Leisure World located in the Showgrounds in Ennis was the scene of an epic soccer tournament on its astroturf facilities recently. Six teams battled it out for the coveted title. In Group A were the Clare Youth Services, Mongan’s Boys and Eddie’s Wanderers while Group B contained the Garda Shades, Nigerian Ennis AllStars, and the Midnight Bandits. The matches were refereed by the Clare District Soccer League.
eDDie’s WanDerers, Winners of the ennis soccer tournaMent
the skill rate and standard of soccer was high throughout the six-a-side games. All games were played in a fair sporting manner with an individual award been presented to a player who epitomised the essence of fair play. In Group A eddie’s wanderers played some great attacking football and they showed a high level of ﬁtness which was in evidence in all their games throughout 38 | The Voice of The TraVeller auTumn 2013
the competition. they had comfortable victories in their two group games to top Group A and book their spot in the semiﬁnals. this left Clare Youth Service and Mongan’s Boys battling out for second spot in Group A and also the last semiﬁnal spot. In a close fought game Clare Youth Service emerged victorious. In Group B it was a much tighter affair for top spot with Midnight Bandits and the Garda Shades only separated by a one goal difference for top spot. Both sides emerged victorious over nigerian ennis All-Stars and played out a highly entertaining 4-4 draw. Due to Midnight Bandits eclipsing the Garda Shades result over nigerian ennis All-Stars they claimed top spot. the two semi-ﬁnals saw eddie’s wanderers triumph over the Garda Shades in a tight contest due to some fantastic ﬁnishing from distance while in the other semi-ﬁnal Midnight Bandits recorded a comfortable victory over the Clare Youth Service. the ﬁnal proved too much for the Midnight Bandits as fatigue began to catch up against a younger ﬁtter eddie’s wanders who played at a high tempo throughout. eddie’s wanderers claimed a deserved victory and claimed the title with a convincing display not only in the ﬁnal but throughout the whole tournament. the event was organised by members of the traveller Community in collaboration with the CIOC Special Initiative for travellers, ennis CDP, tHU, Clare County Council, Clare Youth Service and the ennis CDP Primary Health Care Programme for travellers in Clare. It was supported by Clare Civil Defence and refereeing officials from the Clare and District Soccer League.
pavee uniteD recruitMent Drive Pavee United football club is an all-Traveller soccer team drawn from young Traveller men from Coolock, Finglas, Ballymun and the greater Dublin area. The main aim is to encourage young Traveller men to get involved and take ownership of the team as a community. A further aim is to help them with their personal ﬁtness levels and get involved in a healthier lifestyle. pavee uniteD teaM MeMbers
the team are part of the Amateur Football League Dublin. there is a need for this initiative and the team as young travellers in the area are having problems with employment and community related issues. Being part of Pavee United is giving its members something to look forward to and concentrate on. the club is currently in talks with Dublin City Council to provide a more permanent football pitch closer to where the team members are based. this step should increase training attendance and make games more accessible to family members of the players involved. Pavee United are continually recruiting new members to take part in the club. If you or someone you know would like to get involved text John Paul on 085 – 275 6526.
CARLOW GET NEW TEAM MEMBER A new team member has joined the staff of Involve Youth Project Carlow. Kirsty is a welcomed addition to the team and we are glad to have new skills and fresh ideas on board. Here is a little bit about Kirsty herself: “My name name is Kirsty Lea. I’m 24 years of age and I am
from Carlow town. I’m excited of the new experiences and opportunities that are ahead of me in Involve. Being from Carlow town I have a good bit of local knowledge which is of beneﬁt to a youth project such as Involve Carlow. I play soccer with a local club and I hope to bring my soccer skills to the young people. I’m looking forward to the new challenges ahead.”
Voice of the Traveller would like to thank our voluntary contributors for their continued support. The VOTM team acknowledge our work would be greatly increased without the much appreciated assistance and submissions from our contributors and volunteers.
AUtUMn 2013 The Voice of The TraVeller | 39
40 | The Voice of the Traveller Autumn 2013