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Summer 2012 Issue 85 €3

HOT SUMMER ISSUE

Paddy and Sally’s Excellent Adventure y

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Jedward and in Dublin meeting

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Welcome to offices at VOTM d the country. The lighted to stories from aroun h and we were de nt mo is th ce sen re in VOTM pre he dia m me tea th e wi th to again and Sally Bercow rty attention he dia Do y me dd ge Pa hu welcome ce again, receiving on , vellers are rs Tra lle ow ve sh Tra in Athlone. mentaries that to be part of docu vellers around Tra of s nt me and we are happy ve hie and profile the ac endent production in a positive light e UK’s largest indep ther and The Million th l, mo de En . try the coun as Big Bro programmes such e team at work company with hit to film the magazin s ice off r ou d ite y and Sally’s dd Pa led tit Pound Drop, vis en ming documentary mentary, Paddy and Sally co up an of rt pa as cu . As part of the do for two Excellent Adventure ned the Voice of the Traveller team d how joi d an an ng ne ssi visiting Athlo ciety is progre t the pair to how traveller so to get an insight in and confronts modern issues. We sen Paddy d orts cy Joyce and also ha the magazine rep with Reporter Tra re to su on ssi Be . mi ue iss ing is ort th on a rep and Uncle for our nt the Au y for t on ou Ag as tch t and Sally ac Page 8 and wa read all about it on in September ed air be ll wi ich red in programme wh e will also be featu e 2012. The magazin y Lif ps Gy “A ary nt me a Channel 5 docu in n read all about it for Me” and you ca ue. our September iss nth features Our photo of the mo limelight e th ng ari sh John Collins, e Olympic Torch with Jedward, at th great honor sa Run in Dublin. It wa n read his story on for John and you ca h marks the end of Page 15. This mont Traveller Training r an era for the Senio it were invited to vis we en wh d an Centres Ennis for the in re nt Ce ng ini St. Joseph’s Tra ony, see Page 12. final awards cerem k out Meath Travellers ec ch en th with words is an important If you have a way ional story telling dit Tra . 29 ge Pa iling a video Workshop piece on tory and Meath Travellers are comp mber of his me r a lle en ve th l Tra tel on to record If you have a story story es! ur tal yo r lle film ve to Tra u archive of lling to come to yo wi an th re mo be the team will ity is an th them. Travelling Commun so get in touch wi gh the eyes of the mmunity co rou n th n bli bli Du e Du sid rth rth No by No io series produced cacy group Travact. insightful new rad side Traveller advo rth No d an m rs in 21st arf Ne radio station identity of Travelle plores the cultural Dublin. e sid rth No of rs The programme ex lle th a focus on Trave p.m. century Ireland, wi starting Thursday 21st June at 6:00 as in ue ne iss tu is to th er o cked int Rememb tertainment also pa e streets to th to k too We have some en y, rph ing a rter, Theresa Mu our Waterford Repo ming! Yes ladies, today’s men are tak uld oo – co Gr it le of d Ma un te so iga e th est inv and by eck their appearance regime stakes! Ch bigger interest in ney in the beauty mo r a he up for ing run ok a co l give any gir n of Kerry are Page 25. The wome ies as they out her report on llow our Kerry lad Fo ot! bo to d fie rti ce what it is like ng of tti te ge tas d a t an go rm sto oking course and co ge involved lle all co a to on ns d tio embarke Tralee. Congratula in IT e th continue at ey th ge lle as to attend co experiences ar more about their and we hope to he tures. . nth instead of pic in their education e in words this mo lane tim ry in mo ck ba me go wn o do als p We rd takes us on a tri rfo on is ate ry W sto m r fro He s Mary Collin of a jam pot. t the various uses Counselling and tells us all abou ious note, we profile the Traveller e on your ser Page 27. On a more tic work they do and give some advic tas fan e th d an Service and ents. I head for a new life has rights and entitlem It of the magazine as This is my last issue ather across in the pond in New York! od we e hospitality go th d me an so try ly un ful co pe e ho th some Travellers around s amazing. I have been great meeting erywhere I went wa receiving my copy of ev ed eiv rec I me and welco I will enjoy take with me and news! great memories to ing up with all the ep ke d an st po e th for the in e ws zin ne d ga an ma s e ap th d in your holiday sn a fantastic sen ve to ha er d mb an me ue Re you enjoy this iss pe ho e W ! ue iss September nshine! ed now is some su Summer - all we ne

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Submissions for inclusion in the next edition of Voice of the Traveller must be with us on or before Friday February 10th 2012. Contact the Voice of the Traveller team Michael (Reporter): michael.power@involve.ie Laura (Manager, Community Services Progr.): laura.greene@involve.ie Kathy (Sales and Marketing, CSP): kathy.meehan@involve.ie Tracey (Regional Reporter Midlands) Reporters Our regional reporters can be contacted at head office on 090 6498017 Voice of the Traveller, Involve, Unit 1, Monksland Business Park, Athlone, Co. Roscommon Email: voiceofthetraveller@involve.ie Please note print outs of photographs are no longer accepted. All photos must be emails as jpegs or posted directly to us at the address above. Voice of the Traveller assumes that the full permission of anyone featured in a photograph has been secured prior to being submitted. Views expressed in Voice of the Traveller do not necessarily reflect policies of the editor or the National Association of Travellers’ Centres. Some photos submitted to the magazine may be used on our website.

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5

On The Cover

… e u s s i s i h t In 12

Paddy Doherty and Sally Bercow

Features

ing Centre End For Train s St. Joseph’s, Enni sit

Paddy and Sally vi

8 Paddy & Sally’s Excellent Adventure 12 End For Traveller Training Centre 14 Travelling Back in Time 15 John Collins Carries Olympic Torch 17 You’re never too old!

14 Regulars

Travelling Back

Reliving the old da

in Time

ys, travelling arou

nd Co. Galway.

5 Martin Beanz on Fame

17

6 News Roundup 21 Horoscopes

30 Dear Paddy and Sally 32 Communion Snaps 36 Out and About

You’re Never To

Helen Callan Retu

o Old

rns to Education.

3


John Collins, who carried the Olympic torch in Dublin, pictured here with Jedward.

Photo of the month


s t n a W Who ? s u o m a F to be z n a e B n i t Mar Well it seems that being a Traveller or Gypsy these days has its upside with the media. No more is it just the head kickings and drunken antics that get aired. Nope! Something odd has crept from under the secretive rock on the campsite. Traveller-ism. So you have all the little wannabe Barbie’s running around plastered, worse than a painters radio in fake tan and you have them singing and crooning away to their hearts content. We all know about the less than positive documentary covering weddings, and we all know about more positive ones like Blood of the Travellers and a Gypsy Life for Me. But what do we really know about what is going on television? At the end of the day the production companies are not there to ensure travellers are shown in a positive light, mainly because positive images rarely sell as well as negative and sensational images. So keep that in mind folks when approached by any TV crew! They can only film and air the image that you yourself have portrayed. That said, this is a short story about the time my Aunty Winny went to an audition and her subsequent partial fame. Big Big Winny was as big as her name suggests, but she always had a longing to be either a model or an actress. Now by looking at our Winny, you would imagine the only thing she could model for was on a farm, or as a scenic mountain background. But her weight never held her back from her dream of being a wonder-thunder bra woman. Now without frightening some of the younger readers, I have to say that as far as a wonder bra is concerned, it’s a wonder she could find a bra that wasn’t stretched out of a marquee. Winny had her beady eyes set on stardom from the start. She got on some of the game shows at first and worked her way up to a

singing competition. She went up there and started belting out tunes that sounded like a castrated crow with a lisp. Still she got through and started to believe she was a star, and started acting like one and all. She went on all the diets and went on all the fitness regimes. She then went to Thailand to get her knees done and to have the hair on her back taken off with a laser! A few years passed and we heard nothing from our Winny, until one day we read in a paper that a new star had emerged in the East. From what we could remember of Winny it would have been more correct to say a planet had emerged in the East. Still poor auld Winny was returning to Ireland, with what we thought would be depression.

“This is Ally-handro” Winny chirped. “I decided I’d go for one of his kind coz Madonna got one.” But nothing could have been further from the truth! In walks our Aunt Winny, and she was about 8 stone weight. She had lost all of the fat she used to have to carry on a shopping trolley in front of her. She had the old masons done as well, as they beamed all white. Walking in the door talking like someone on a L’Oreal advertisement. “Howya Winny” I said as she wiggled her excuse for an arse past me to the living room. “Oh howya fat arse” she replied as she glanced at me like yer one from the devil wears Prada. That rake just called me fat I thought

to myself. Winny was on top form, as she went around criticising all the women in the room and making a holy show of the men with their receding hair and freckly fat faces. Winny stayed about 5 Minutes then decided that it was time for us to meet her significant other. In walks this fella about 6 foot 4 and built like the gable end of an apartment block. A big tanned face on him and a smile like a celebrity. All the women in the house started hovering around tearin’ the backs of each other to get in front to have a look at him. Alexandro was his name and he was a Brazilian Toy Boy she found while on her travels. “This is Ally Handro” Winny chirped. “I decided I’d go for one of his kind coz Madonna got one” she said. One of the older women asked “Who the hell Mad Donna?” and “why she was worth copying?” “Madonna, you auld fossil” Winny replied. When Winny left the house with her Brazilian Toy Boy a familiar thing happened but with a slightly different twist. All the men in the room were talking about how much of a Nancy boy that fella was and how he had never had a hard day’s work in his life and the women started to say how Winny was looking shook and that she would want to put on a bit of weight. This is how begrudging people can be, so fair play to ya skinny Winny I say. And fair play to any person who tries out life in the media spotlight. Always be careful and seek advice before you speak your mind! Check out Martin’s Facebook page for other columns and articles at Martin Beanz Warde, a three course rant. 5


News

nd and craic. Each ba of fantastic music re we all d an e style had their own uniqu rs.  huge crowd please  1st – 4th saw the ne Ju of d le of Tramore locals en up ek co we a The I spoke to in l va sti Fe s as gr ue Bl s brilliant to see 17th International and they said it wa an rg ne Lo e Jo . rd rfo and to see the Tramore, Co. Wate Tramore come alive s wa it d an l va staurants do lots organised the Festi local shops and re ck ba be ll wi it at th od e harsh economic so honky-tonky go of business in thes r! tte be d an r ge of music really blew again next year, big times. “The quality the to up ed ow sh le is a real sense of Hundreds of peop us away and there of wn to you ay lid ho rn e air. Everywhere Sunny South Easte togetherness in th s nd ba e s er as th gr ts ue ee bl e str th on the Tramore to see all look in the pubs or e giv g ey in th d nc di da y es bo ili d and fam do their “thang” an are happy people r yo Ma be y ly da ite st fir fin e I will de a good show. On th and singing along e. cially opened the offi n ha e local man told m og on ” Ke e ar ye Maxin here next d al an tiv Gr fes e e Th th t at y pu on could festival in a cerem Not even the rain en m wo d of men an Hotel in Tramore. e goers off and lots Bands including th of s lot s workshop with re as gr we e ue er bl Th joined the ers pp Ti ss w Co ky uc nt ar Jonathon Mane Watery Hill Boys, Ke American Superst . few a e n m fu t na ea to gr e s on s. It wa and Well Enough Al and other musician ed ay pl d nt an re m ffe di 2p e at all th The bands started trying trying to play everyday. The m 2a all had great fun to ey h th ug t ro bu th ts  right instrumen the d an d year for ne tai ter en y will be back next crowd were highly ergy and everybod en e m sa e th ep ke n! aww fu bands were able to some more yee ha m ce entertained fro en di au y, e ph th ur pt M ke sa and By There the Bands got on l Al ! Waterford r ish rte fin po to Re rt sta Regional em th of y an m d an really well together end ds through a week became good frien

l Bluegrass Festiva

Park Waterford Natuanrea thousand people

6

last, more th On the 1st of June land, Michael D. he President of Ire showed up to see t ture Park. The Waterford’s new Na en op lly cia offi s, Higgin oasis in the 0 metres and is an ,00 50 rs ve co rk Pa Nature in lots of different e park can be used Th y. cit e th of e middl The Park has d educational use. an al on ati cre re r ways fo spaces, nature uipment, exercise eq ay pl , es ut ro walking what the people s. Basically this is ea ar e lif ld wi d an trails, many years now. ed and needed for nt wa ve ha rd rfo of Wate shining brightly! y and the sun was da tic tas fan a s It wa had great fun excited and they all so re we s kid al The loc that were roaming odland characters wo l na tio fic e th with looking at the They also enjoyed around for the day. proudly on show. re tterflies that we bu d an s rd bi ul tif beau rk is that it came out this nature pa ab rt pa st be e th t Bu dump! It took in ginnings - the town be e bl m hu ry ve from ully the dump in 2005 and thankf ste wa of sit po de t its las nderful park with place now is a wo In . ne go g lon w is no ople of Waterford bs for all of the pe ru sh d an es tre 0 20,00 enjoy. and it’s visitors to aterford gional Reporter W Theresa Murphy, Re

Women Blackberry Laerny Weednesday evening meet ev 11 Traveller women to chat, Community Centre ne La ry in Blackber nt activities.  take part in differe share ideas and to rk with st finished some wo The group have ju o have ict Mediator and als Sean O’Boyle, Confl Decoupage eks working on a spent the past 4 we ohy from y project. Colette Tu and 3D photograph es the group. er Project facilitat Westmeath Travell

y now have Co-Ordinator. “The e in the event us to the basic tools This is the of an emergency”. Activities that h ut first of many Yo er 2012 with will be rolled out ov Safety’, ike ‘B courses such as ’, ‘Football ate fic rti ct Navan has ‘Babysitting Ce oje Pr h ut Yo lve vo In ’ to name but a ogramme for referee Certificate pr st fir its d ete pl com ity operates . Involve Project Un setting up the few ce sin le op pe g youn e Unity Centre d Youth Project a Youth Cafe in th an fe Ca h ut Yo ity Un nday night from Windtown on a Mo , Windtown, re nt Ce ity Un e th in e-booked Youth 6-8pm and offer pr 2011. Our young r be to Oc in n va Na sday night Activity on a Wedne our Wednesday ng di en att le op pe en to all young 6-7pm. Both are op e Unity Centre th in ion ss se t gh ni years of age. people aged 10-16 5 week (once a e on rg de un ve ha h Organisation INVOLVE is a Yout st Aid Skills Fir al tic ac Pr ) ek we a e equality of the that recognises th ed by Bernie er liv de e m m ra og Pr ity by providing Traveller Commun Fitzsimons l ae ch Mi & ds oo W tives and programmes, intia fence. “It was from Meath Civil De Travellers that g un services for yo urse and our co l sfu es cc su ry ve a cipation and promote their parti rs were very be em m b clu h ut yo Society. inclusion in Irish ended regularly”, interested and att h Involve’s Yout said Kay McCabe,

Practical First Aid Skills Programme


lopment e v e D y it n u m m o rford Traveller C involves 2 hours of

Wate

That literacy per week literacy. ity un m m ining and 2 hours Co er tra ell ter av pu m co sic ba Waterford Tr r e ses pe lved in the group ar ct run 2 literacy clas All the women invo Development proje of aim al e loc Th e 1. th el r fo lev s  ter classe wards a FETAC to g in rk wo week plus 2 compu to volved rticipating a TCDP has been in is to bring those pa p ou gr is th traveller women. W y years rther education lar groups for man they can access fu at th el lev with these particu eir d to e in th might eventually lea ll has full confidenc and training that and the project sti said en m en m wo e wo e Th e th m e program ment Also a few of oy pl em commitment to th e they are able to e ones  to pick thes started the classes ey th ce sin themselves were th s the area ore with their agreed these were eir children a lot m th t or pp su classes as they all e these the confidence with. WTCD Provid k which gives them or ew m ho they needed help   d DSFA e women said ction with VEC an ing to the class. Th go ep ke to services in conjun ation/ four hours of educ the women access

rity Everaisinngt day for the Down a h C ss re D y M y u B ere was a huge fund tel Tramore, Co. ay May 26th last th

and Ho On Saturd ok place in the Gr hers. in Waterford. It to re nt Ce e islim, along with ot m ro Un d nd Sy re Special K an we y rn da wo e th ce r on fo d rs oo new an Waterford. Sponso ly Sale with over 2,o On m all y fro Da e y cit On t ni es eth rg d es, all ages an siz It was Ireland’s La es ap sh all of ted by women dresses being dona s for considerable fund over Ireland. cause and it raised tic as nt having Fa as a ll r fo we y as da d rags on and gla It was a brilliant eir th t go er ov arity. omen from all for a much loved ch Down Sydrome. W areness and money aw d the near ise in ra t ey en th ev t r to hold anothe a fantastic day ou pe ho ey th y da e too could pop success of th rs and maybe you pe Following the huge pa e th in te da me of charity. eye out for that dress all in the na future so keep an w ne a th wi e m y out and go ho along for a fun da aterford gional Reporter, W Re Theresa Murphy,

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last week Group finished up Listowel Women’s by n ru ore classes se m ur at co th y d oker loss. It is hope t igh we The most recent co d an h alt he est news. ports of improved website for the lat with some great re ep an eye on their ke so ar, , with all ye e ce th offi in er or from their will be delivered lat ed on the website as rch me culinary pu so be g n in ca ok Joe Dalton, show r to tu S The group’s cookbo KE is e ov charity. Pictured ab profits donated to p members. techniques to grou

mad to hildren we are all we are like schoolc lves so nt to educate ourse learn and we all wa llers ve our children “Tra we can help educate en ev a g that if you have are finally realisin life 100 can make everyday basic education it Stokes Thank You to Mary percent better. Big on the allowed me to sit in from WTCDP who a chat classes and to have literacy/computer self how d also to see for my with the women an ng an tti men are about ge passionate these wo ch and ea selves Fair play to education for them ladies. rk ep up the good wo everyone of you ke

Rent Allowance Changes in PladcReent

w calle Rent Allowance, no ivate anyone living in pr to id Supplement, is pa d or aff ot ation who cann rented accommod s from amount themselve nt to pay the full re dget 2012 Bu in s announced their income. It wa s rent rd wa to contribution that the minimum w ne e th 12 1 January 20 will increase. From is ts an ten ution by single minimum contrib ek. we r pe €6 an increase of now €30 which is . ek we r pe imum of €35 Couples pay a min for the ing as a home help rk Income from wo eans m e th in into account HSE will be taken re we its lim lement. Rent test for Rent Supp ants. im cla w ry 2012, for ne reduced on 1 Janua ants im cla g in ist ll apply to ex The new limits wi ove m ey th if or are reviewed when their claims s en tiz Ci : ation. (Source to new accommod website). re nt Information Ce w known as Rent no , ce Rent Allowan t and eans tested paymen Supplement, is a m is nt re ly ek monthly/we is only paid if your are. elf W l cia So ount set by lower than the am e m co in d an cumstances This takes your cir er low be to amount has into account. The ps vary e rent cap. Rent ca th as than is known you live try un co e at part of th depending on wh ur local mation contact yo in. For further info n as ow kn w re officer, no community welfa citizens al loc ur officer’ or yo ‘higher executive nal tio Na e th or contact information office ran-Carr rco Co ret 000. Marga Office on 076 1074

e voiceofthetraveller.i @ fo in t ac nt co us r item fo If you have a news we’ll call you back! d an 7 01 98 64 0 09 or call

visit us at

m/ www.facebook.co r lle ve ra Voiceofthet 7


Paddy and Sally’s Excellent Adventure

8


Paddy Doherty was born in Manchester on 6th February, 1959. He and his wife of thirty five years, Roseanne, have five children and fifteen grandchildren. He first came to the notice of the general public when he appeared on our television screens when he was featured on the Channel 4 documentary “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” in June of last year, although this was not his first profile in a documentary. He was also featured, during his fighting days, on a programme in 2008 when he first allowed his private life to be shared. However, it was on the show “Big Brother” where he was catapulted into the limelight as more and more settled viewers fell in love with this lovable rogue! The show, and in particular, the episodes featuring Paddy, enjoyed such high ratings that he was approached to appear on Celebrity Big Brother in August 2011. Being a very outgoing and confident performer, Paddy was only too happy to oblige and the media coverage was frantic. All the Newspapers printed stories about Paddy’s nomadic background and everyone wondered how Paddy would react to living in a house for such a long time without being able to leave whenever he wanted. Initially, Paddy thought he was just going into the house for a week but as he was continuously publicly voted back in, it didn’t pose a problem for him and again the ratings were high. Paddy would entertain the viewers on a continuous basis and his large following continued to tune in to watch how Paddy was getting on in the house. He was the third celebrity to enter the house and it was while participating in this programme that he first met Sally Bercow. Sally, wife of Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, joined the reality show in order to raise funds for a charity for Children with Autism. After meeting in the BB house, nobody, not even Paddy & Sally themselves, could have known that the pair would become such celebrities and continue to join forces on future television programmes. Sally, who would be considered liberal and outspoken, became intrigued with Paddy’s Traveller background and his traditional views and while on camera she said to Paddy “I’d love to come and visit you in your home to see more of how you live Pad”, Paddy’s reply was “well one day, you

never know, you might end up coming for a visit.” This conversation started as a joke between the two but it soon became clear that putting this pair together would make for great television. Their hit show with the catchy title - “When Paddy met Sally” was on the cards as soon as Paddy was crowned winner of the Celebrity Big Brother Programme in 2011. After his win on the show, Paddy invited Sally to do a reality show which would see her moving into the site where Paddy lives to experience life as a Traveller for a few week. When the show began in January 2012, thousands of viewers tuned in to watch Sally as she moved into Paddy’s caravan. This would be the first time Sally would ever have stayed in a Caravan park and Paddy’s first time to ever live alone with any other woman other than his wife Rosanne. The series was a great hit with the public and for each series viewers tuned in to

“Paddy had never cooked before in his life other than opening a can of soup or popping a ready made meal in the microwave. He was not impressed with the men cooking in the kitchen at first.”

see Paddy doing things he would never usually do such as cooking and cleaning. When the series ended, they were approached again by producers at Channel 5 with an idea for another series, to be aired in September, which will see Paddy and Sally travelling to various countries to live among gypsy and Traveller families in various countries around the world. The Monksland area was alive with excitement last week when Paddy Doherty and Sally Bercow came to feature the Voice of the Traveller Magazine as part of their upcoming documentary entitled “Paddy and Sally’s Excellent Adventure” which shows the unlikely pair travelling around the world, living and working with Travellers and Gypsies in different countries to experience the different cultures and customs. As part of the documentary, Paddy and Sally were immersed in Irish Traveller culture, both past and present, during their stay in Ireland. In addition to visiting Athlone, they stayed in a traditional barrel top wagon in Navan and spent time chatting with Travellers around the country. They joined the Voice of the Traveller team for two days at Involve in Monksland, Athlone to get an insight in to how the magazine is produced and also took a look at how the magazine reports and confronts modern issues. Laura Greene, Editor, Voice of the Traveller Magazine, sent the pair on a reporting mission and said “We decided that it would be a good idea to have Paddy and Sally shadow our reporter, Tracie Joyce, for a few days and cover a story Tracie was writing on the closure 9


of the Senior Traveller Training Centres nationally.  They also acted as Agony Aunt and Uncle for our upcoming issue and it was great to see the contrast in the advice they gave to problems posed by our readers. We gave them a selection of letters to choose from and there was quite a heated debate on the advice – needless to say they had very strong opposite opinions to start but I think Sally managed to change some of Paddy’s strong beliefs before they were finished”. The weather cooperated on the day and Paddy and Sally spent some time at Athlone Castle by the Shannon banks where local Photographer Corin Bishop was filmed by the crew doing a photo shoot for the cover of the June issue of the magazine. Paddy and Sally tagged along with Tracie to St. Joseph’s Training Centre in Ennis, one of the centres closing in June, where she organised a place for Paddy on a cooking class. Tracie told the Westmeath “Paddy had never cooked before in his life other than opening a can of soup or popping a ready made meal in the microwave. He was not impressed with the men cooking in the kitchen at first but he soon got the hang of it and I think he secretly enjoyed himself and produced a fairly decent spaghetti Bolognese. He vowed he would never do it again though and Sally had a hard time getting him to wash up afterwards, another job he had never done before!” They spent some time chatting to the learners at the centre, attended a literacy class and Sally even had her nails manicured in the beauty room at St. Joseph’s.

“Paddy, this is great! I am delighted to see you cooking, as the only thing you were able to do for me was pop a can of soup in the microwave!” The team at Voice of the Traveller Magazine were delighted to welcome the production to our offices here in Athlone where Paddy and Sally took on the role of Reporters for a few days. Our Regional Reporter, Tracie Joyce, took to the roads with Paddy and Sally as she compiled stories and reports from around the country. One such report was on the closing of the Senior Traveller Training Centres nationally and she took Paddy and Sally to visit St. Joseph’s Training Center in Ennis to see how the participants were dealing with the transition to mainstream education. Although the centre was in the winding down stages it was buzzing with excitement at the prospect of Paddy and Sally’s visit. The centre Manager, Triona Lynch was on hand to explain the significance of the center in the lives of the many families who had been through the doors over the years. She said “I am delighted to welcome you here at this sad time for us as we are finishing our last exams and saying goodbye to St. Joseph’s. While there is a tinge of sadness

there is also the hope that our learners will continue on from here and attend the many courses and programmes that are available in this area.” Triona offered Paddy the opportunity to attend a cooking class and Sally was delighted to watch this drama unfold as she stated “Paddy, this is fantastic! I am delighted to see you cooking as the only thing you were able to do for me was pop a can of soup in the microwave!” Paddy, along with other members of the traveller community cooked Spaghetti Bolognese and not only did Paddy cook and serve the group, but he had to do the dishes as well – to the delight of Sally and the crew! Paddy enjoyed the experience but said “yes it’s ok - but I wouldn’t do it again.” I don’t think his lovely wife Roseanne will be getting treated to any food cooked by Paddy in the near future! On a more serious note, Sally was very impressed with the range of classes available at the centre and sat in on a literacy class with a group of Traveller women. She had quite a lengthy discussion with the women about life as a Traveller woman and a little insight into some of the problems faced by Travellers today. Then it was time for a little relaxation as they group were treated to manicures and hand massages in the centre’s Beauty Room. Sally spent some time with VOTM’s own Tracie Joyce discussing the importance of role models, especially for young traveller women today. Tracie, a lone parent, loves her job and really enjoys working and caring for her son. “I think is very important for young Traveller girls today to get out there and complete their

Julianne Doorley meeting Paddy at VOTM offices. 10


The McDonogh Family from Navan joined Paddy and Sally on part of their journey through Ireland.

education. I did and I have never looked back. I am very proud of my Traveller heritage and I believe we can still keep up our customs and traditions even though we may not be seen as typical Traveller women because we like to work and support ourselves”. We were delighted to have the pair with us at VOTM, Paddy said” it was an experience he wouldn’t forget easily”, Sally said “it was great to see Paddy partake in the cookery and also the hand massage! I had a very pleasant time here in Ireland and would love to come again”. Paddy has settled down somewhat in the past few years, became a Born Again Christian and says his fighting days are over. In his time with us, he appeared to show a more sensitive side and was happy to stop and chat with fans who approached him. He was happy to meet and greet fans and had all the time in the world to talk to them. Our team at VOTM had a great experience also and we do hope both Paddy and Sally will visit Ireland again in the near future and we are delighted they came and worked with us at VOTM. Sally Bercow, is married to John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, and is no stranger to controversy. Her appearance on the reality show, Big Brother, resulted in heated discussions in the English media. Public opinion was that Sally was undermining the dignity of the office of the speaker of the house, however, Sally explains that she went into the Big Brother House in order to raise £100,000 for a charity for children with Autism. It was while on the programme that she met Paddy. To say their opinions are opposites would be an understatement and has made for great television viewing!

Mike Power, Tracey Joyce, Sally Bercow and Laura Greene taking a break from filming in Ennis!.

VOTM Regional Reporter Tracie Joyce interviews Paddy and Sally. 11


End of an Era for Traveller Training Centres – Goodbye to St. Joseph’s Senior Traveller Training Centres were established in 1974 to provide basic compensatory education for Travellers between the ages of 15 and 25, although the upper age limit has since been abolished. There was a network of 27 centres throughout the country and the first centre opened in Ennis in 1974, with 13 more opening in the following decade alone. In line with the Budget cuts for 2011, all the Centres are to be phased out by July 2012 although some Centres have already been closed as a result of this decision. The aim of the centres was to provide Travellers with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to successfully make the transition to work and adult life, and to participate fully in their communities. The target group was people who have left school with either minimal or no qualifications. However, there was no upper age limit, and particular effort was made to encourage parents on to the programme, given the impact this can have on their children’s subsequent participation in schooling. As one of the oldest centres closed its doors for the last time, we were invited along to St. Joseph’s Training Centre in Ennis as they held their very last Awards Ceremony at the Auburn Lodge Hotel.

Article Bridget McDonagh received the Student of the Year award for 2011-2012. 12

It was a very emotional time and there were tears of joy and tears of sadness as the past forty years of the centre were remembered by the speakers and students alike. Triona Lynch, Centre Manager said she was very sad to be leaving St. Joseph’s and while she has only been Manager for a year, she had spent many years teaching at the centre and was very much a part of the life of the centre for so long. Triona hopes that now that the centres are closing, that Travellers will take advantage of programmes being offered through the VEC and other agencies in the area. In her address to those present at the awards ceremony, Triona said “There are a lot of agencies

Louise, Patricia and Deirdre, Tutors at St. Joseph’s Training Centre, Ennis.

that are involved in making sure that Travellers are integrated successfully into mainstream education and I would like to thank all those agencies for their support and help during this difficult transition. One thing that amazed me about this job was the amount of networking and linking in with other organisations that St. Joseph’s was involved in over the years.” Speaking about the staff at the centre Triona said “the staff all worked diligently to make St. Joseph’s the centre that it was – from all the cups of tea and scones to all the teaching staff, both past and present, for their dedication over the years and who promoted qualities of education and the profitability that education


can bring. The staff at St. Joseph’s were a passionate and hard working team and always went above the call of duty and I wish you all went in your future positions. “The most important people here today are our Class of 2012 and our past students. Your achievements and character is being honoured here today. However, I challenge you not to rest, relax or let life pass you by! Please continue to strive towards your life goals. I have seen what education means to you and your families and we will continue to support you into the future.” Gerry Griffin, National Co-ordinator for the STTC spoke at the ceremony and had this to say, “It has been a tough journey for a lot of people over the past thirty years and you really are a fantastic community and workers and this should not be a sad time. Over the coming years we will see more and more Travellers participating in mainstream education and you have the skills, the drive and the commitment to succeed in a mainstream environment. I would ask that everyone take their rightful place in mainstream education and don’t let this day go by without getting the information leaflets available here today and make that leap of faith”. St. Joseph’s also played host to Paddy Doherty and Sally Bercow and filmed part of the documentary teaching Paddy to cook. Paddy and Sally also attended some of the last classes held at the centre before if officially closed in June.

Ennis Triona Lynch with Paddy and Sally.

It is with great regret that we see the closing of the network of Senior Traveller Training Centre’s (STTCs) in June of this year. The decision to close the centre’s has brought very mixed reaction from Travellers, Traveller organisations, VECs and other stakeholders familiar with the service. While I believe one of the primary reasons for the closing of the centres is financial, it is interesting to observe that the only people to lose out are members of the Traveller community as ultimately the vast majority of staff have been redeployed to other posts within their VECs. The strongest reason for the closing of the STTCs has been stated as the integration of Travellers into mainstream provision. While I strongly support this vision of integration, I believe that what we will see in the coming years is Traveller specific Back to Education Initiative Programmes popping up in different VECs. In other words, there will be a rebuilding of a Traveller specific service under a different umbrella. Decision makers and policy makers still fail to fully understand that, culturally, Travellers have different priorities to the settled community. I am of the opinion that Traveller culture is seen as a sub culture and not a culture of equal value.  The continuation of Traveller CDPs and Traveller primary health care services indicates some recognition of this. It is sad to see that all the expertise and understanding of the Traveller community that has been built up in centres over the years has now been dispersed. However, it is also great to observe the many Travellers who participated in centre progressing in their own lives and are now in a position to support their children and grand-children in their development. I can now only wish all those associated with the centres good luck into the future. James O’Leary, CEO Involve

Paddy enjoyed serving his guests at his impromptu Dinner Party.

Mary Keenan entertained those gathered with some lovely singing. 13


Travelling Back in Time

A group of women from Cork and Kerry travelled to Co. Galway to spend a few days reliving the past by travelling around Oranmore in a covered wagon. They were Eileen Harrington, Nan Casey, Nellie Quilligan, her daughter Kathleen Quilligan, Theresa O’Brien, Killarney and Margaret O’Brien from Ardfert and Katie Donohoe from Cork. I spoke to Eileen Harrington in Kerry after the trip and she told me all about it. Eileen said “It came about when we got a phone call from Nellie’s daughter Kathleen who asked us if we would like to take a tour in the wagon we were delighted to accept the invitation!” Some of the ladies would remember travelling in the wagons as children and sitting out at the campfire into the wee hours of the morning listening to ghost stories before going to sleep under the wagon in a cosy bed made from straw. When the ladies arrived to start their journey, there was great excitement and on the first day they were like children again. They couldn’t wait to get on the road. They quickly set to work organising the wagon and they said it was just like they did when they were younger. They had two wagons drawn by two horses, Danny and Mohamed. The horses

were great and were very used to carrying the load. Every 5 miles or so they would stop and take a break and this gave the ladies time to sit and have the tea and a chat and reminisce. Eileen said the trip brought back great memories “we would watch our mothers cook on the open fire bake the bread in the griddle pan and cook the yellow bacon and spuds in a big pot on the fire. And of course we always had the big pot of porridge in the morning, enough to share with other families if they called by for a chat.” On the first day, the wagon trail travelled twenty five miles! Eileen said “it was great because we are all very good friends and it was great to make this trip together. We always thought we would love to be able to relive the old days and at night we all sat around the campfire, drank tea and sang all the old songs. We were all wrapped up warm at night and in the morning we would all eat breakfast and head up along the country road for the next leg of the journey. We sang all the way and stopped for lunch before heading off again.”

Eiillen Harrightion, Theresa O’Brien (Killarney), her sister Nellie Quilligan from Cork, Margaret Adfert and Nan Casey (Killarney) and Katie from Cork. 14

The group prepared dinner in the old traditional way and washed their spuds in a basin of water and cooked yellow bacon. They all thought the taste of the food was wonderful in the open air. The only difference was that they had a cooker fitted in the wagon and in the old days they would have had to gather sticks and light a fire on the roadside. It was great and a memorable experience for the entire group and it is a trip the women will never forget. Eileen finished by saying “I would fully recommend to anyone thinking of renting the wagon to go for it as you would really enjoy it, all you need is a bit of nice weather and a good group of friends!”.


Collins Carries Olympic Torch

John Collins pictured with former Irish Soccer legend Paul McGrath.

Pavee Points John Collins was among one of the 40 Torchbearers who carried the Olympic torch through the streets of Dublin in a spectacular display which seen thousands of people flock to see this historic event. 23-year-old John is a Traveller representative on the Anti-Racism committee of the Gaelic Athletic Association and co-ordinates Men’s Health initiatives in Pavee Point Dublin. John expressed his pride on being asked to carry the flame for his whole community “I’m thinking of the great Traveller sportspeople who have been proud to represent Ireland and our community – and we wish John Joe Nevin and all our other Irish Athletes the best of luck in London. I can hardly express how proud I am to be here and to have this opportunity.” In welcoming the flames arrival to Dublin in the suburban fishing port of Howth, President Michael D. Higgins declared that the Olympic flame “shone for the spirit of sport and unity.” The torch passed Dublin’s historical sites such as the Garden of Remembrance, GPO, Custom House, Christchurch and Dublin Castle. Carried on its final leg by past Olympic winner Sonia O’Sullivan, it went on to light an Olympic cauldron at a community festival in St. Stephens Green before going back to Northern Ireland. Other Torchbearers on the day were Henry Shefflin (33) Kilkenny Hurling legend, Ireland’s Pop Sensation Jedward, Olympic Silver Medalist in 2000 Sonia O’Sullivan, who’s also Manager of Ireland’s Olympic team at the London Games; Soccer Legend Paul McGrath, boxer Kenny Egan (30) who won silver in Beijing in 2008 and 71 year old Anne Ebbs Founder of the Paralympics Council of Ireland to mention but a few.

John Collins pictured with former Irish Olympian Sonia O’Sullivan.

John Collins pictured with Pop sensations Jedward. 15


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You’re Never Too Old I left school at 14 years of age with no qualifications. I had to mind the house, my brothers and my father. To be honest, I was really the woman of the house from the age of 10. My mother had died when I was 5 years old. Later I got married. I had 6 children and after 15 years my marriage broke down. My whole life revolved around my children and my house. I was a mammy, beginning, middle and end. As the kids began to get older, I was asked to get involved in a local women’s group, which taught cooking and sewing. It got me out of the house and I enjoyed it. This led to taking part in other family related courses like parenting, personal development and confidence building. At this point any courses I was doing were to benefit my children. At the time, Helen as an independent person didn’t exist. All the skills and knowledge I was learning were all put to use improving life for my children. As time went on the children grew up. A second relationship failed and I began to look at the reasons why I was making the bad personal choices I was. I had come to the stage where I had to start caring for and working on myself. Now was my time. I got involved in the local community project, got a training place in NTW and started taking a Parent to Parent Course. Parent to Parent educates parents on drugs and how to talk to their children about drugs. I got on so well with this course I became a facilitator and set up a local group where parents could find a safe and confidential space to discuss how drugs were affecting their families and offer them the opportunity to listen and learn from each other. Looking back at the unsure and uneducated housewife all those years ago, did I ever think she would have grown so much in confidence and knowledge that she would be leading her own support group for parents and be playing a active role in the community and voluntary work in her town. But it didn’t end there. Learning to drive at 50 was a huge achievement for me. I could go anywhere I wanted. It was further proof I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.  The amount of women in my area who took to driving for the first time after they seen me in my car was amazing. It was proof that I wasn’t the only one benefiting from my new confidence. Like many of my generation, circumstances when I was young took me out of education. Even during the time I spent building up my confidence on courses and sitting on committees, there was always something in my head holding me back. Being a dyslexic didn’t help. The paid jobs I picked were manual, cleaning, waitressing and anything that wouldn’t involve paperwork. I couldn’t read and write properly. I never had the opportunity to learn the basics when I was young. I was too busy being a mother figure to my brothers and father. Now that was going to change. I was 55 when I went back to education. A friend told me about a Social Care course which I felt suited me down to the ground because

of my involvement in the community. I never looked at the contents of the course and never realised how much paperwork would be involved until I started. Essays, reports, exams, everything I used to run a mile from, here it was facing me. Now was the time to conquer my fear of letters. I found the course stressful and it took over my life! I have to say that the tutors and the VEC were incredibly supportive. The tutors picked up on my difficulties and frustrations and my class also helped me. No-one ever looked down on me. I was never made feel out of place. It was wonderful to be in a group that encouraged me to finish the course, which I did and graduated last year. When I had it all done and finished I was so proud of my achievements. My new skills and education made me look at myself and my place in life differently.  I was no longer the scared housewife stuck at home with no confidence and no skills. Now I could write letters, drive a car and had a qualification. Who was I now? A very proud woman, working out what my next adventure will be! By Helen Callan

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Taking Cooking To a Higher Level The Institute of Technology at Tralee’s North Camps was the location for a College Cooking Programme which was the first of its kind in Kerry. The group was made up of 18 Traveller Women and the course was FETAC Level 6. The Institute of Technology at Tralee’s North Camps was the location for a College Cooking Programme which was the first of it’s kind in Kerry. The group was made up of 18 Traveller Women and the course was FETAC Level 6. IT, Tralee is located within the premier tourism hub of Ireland, which facilitates strong industry links and a professional network of employment opportunities. The college boasts a self-contained Hotel, Culinary and Tourism Department, with five modern kitchens; purpose built demonstration kitchen theatre, a training restaurant and bar. A key strength of the department is the staff to student ratio which creates a supportive learning environment. All staff come from a varied food industry background, which provides the opportunity to link both the theory and practice of culinary arts. The department also offers a number of unique scholarship exchange programmes, which brings an international dimension to this programme. We decided to send our Regional Reporter in Kerry, Marquerite McCarthy, on the course to experience college life for real! Here’s how she got on. When we

arrived at the class we were welcomed in and Christina Boland, Traveller Liaison Officer, was on hand to assist us with our orientation and helped out while we were issued with our Student ID cards. From the start, we were very much part of the wider student body and I must say we all felt very comfortable in our new surroundings! It wasn’t all fun and games and was quite hard work as we attended classes for two days each week and the course lasted for four weeks. The instructors were at hand at all times to give some help when it was needed and as this was a Level 6 Course it was quite difficult at times. There was an exam on the last day that everyone completed and we were all very proud of ourselves to have completed the course. On the first day, we all got straight down to the menus and discussed the dishes we were about to learn to cook. As well as being able to cook at home, we were also instructed on how to cook at a profitable level in the catering world. It was not what we were used to. It certainly wasn’t like cooking the odd dinner party for friends or family! The first thing we were to learn was how to cut and prepare vegetables. Did

The Travelling Community within the Kerry region, the Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT), in particular, the Department of Business Studies and Hotel, Culinary & Tourism (HCT), can be extremely proud of 14 members of the travelling community who have successfully completed the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) Level 6 module in Culinary Operations 1. This module formulates part of the Higher Certificate in Arts in Culinary Arts programme, which would be the programme chosen by those who wish to persue a career within the hospitality and tourism industry in Ireland, as chefs, cooks and food service operators. The module was delivered over the month of May 2012, with final exams being taken at the end of May 2012. The final exams included a practical skills examination and a final written examination, which, while daunting initially for any student, confirms and validates the learning acquired throughout the module. The practical skills examination required the students to fillet, prepare and cook Pan-fried Breaded Lemon Sole with Lemon Wedges, prepare and cook Baked Potato, and prepare 18

you know that there are 6 different types of vegetable cuts? Yes, six! Julienne, Chiffonade, Jardiniere, Brunoise, Macedoine and Paysanne. The trick is to make them all look the same with neat edges and we were all able to master this technique before long. A tip was to vary the size but to keep the cut neat and I must say they looked very impressive! Now to sautéing, which is a method of cooking food, that uses a small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan to make a pan sauce using a liquid such as wine or water. Blanching is a technique used to keep vegetables crisp and tender. Boiling vegetables briefly then chilling them in ice water preserves texture, colour and flavour. At the end of the course I caught up with one of the chefs to see his take about the course. He said that as mature students you definitely had that to your advantage. It was great to see such interest and see how hard everyone worked. Everyone picked up the techniques quite fast , And he hope that next year we would be back to do level 7. We wait with bated breath for our results and look forward to the Graduation Ceremony in October. That will be one great photo for the sideboard!

and dress a Mixed Salad. While nervousness was evident on the morning of the examination, the students nonetheless took to the task with great vigour and excitement, and ultimately produced the goods with the new skills acquired. This practical skills examination was followed by a written examination, which again was undertaken with great excitement, and successfully completed by all members of the group. Members of the HCT lecturing team included Dan Browne, Mark Murphy, Maurice O’Brien, TJ O’Connor (Head of Function) and Anne Shine, with key technical, administrative and operational support provided by Joanie Godley, Mark K. Murphy, Norma O’Brien, Christina Boland, Valerie Moore, Mary Stritch, and all the members of the Life Long Learning Team within ITT. Graduation took place on Monday 28th June, and it is hoped that this can be the beginning of further studies within ITT for students who participated on the Culinary Operations 1 module, or any potential student who wishes to explore higher education.


Traveller Counselling Service The Traveller Counselling Service is located in Phibsboro in Dublin, with services also in Bray, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Finglas and Dublin city centre, another will open in Limerick. The T.C.S website will be up and running soon.

The T.C.S is a culturally appropriate counselling and psychotherapy service for Irish Travellers which is based on the principles of community development. Officially launched in 2008, the organisation was two years in the making. There is a board of management who look at the over-all picture for the organisation. There are currently six counsellors/ psychotherapists and a supervisor working for the service while Bernadette O’Sullivan, a senior trainer in the clanwilliams institute, meets with the team once a month. Thomas McCann, a psychotherapist working with T.C.S, talked to us about the service and how two years of research on the need for the service and preparation for T.S.C came to fruition. “The idea for the service came about when I was training to be a counsellor. At that time I was co-director of the Irish Traveller Movement and a lot of people that I came into contact with, when they heard I was training to be a counsellor, were asking me if there was any

counselling service that was culturally appropriate to Travellers. At the time there wasn’t, so a group was set up to investigate the need and to organise discussions. After speaking to Travellers from around the country, we knew there was a need for the service. A lot of discussion took place, facilitated by Traveller organisations and different groups. Leading up to the launch, we contacted health professionals who were working with Travellers and everyone who would have an interest in the service, letting them know what the service was about and letting them know what areas we would be working in. We also worked with the primary healthcare groups and Traveller organisations around the country in letting Travellers know about the service. The first year of the service, 2008, was a pilot year for T.C.S. A lot of work went into building the service and it has paid off in that Travellers are engaging with us and are finding it helpful. We help Travellers

deal with issues like addiction (drugs/ alcohol), depression and domestic violence amongst other issues. ‘’ The Traveller Counselling Service can be contacted on 0863081476 ‘’Silence keeps us imprisoned within ourselves and talking is the key to freedom. Talk to somebody, anybody, if you are feeling depressed for whatever reason. We will not judge anyone, we just want to help you’’ (Thomas McCann, Traveller Counselling Services) According to the All Ireland Traveller Health Study - Suicide Rates are more than six times higher among Traveller men than in the general population. In addition, higher levels of anxiety and depression also exist within the community. Substance abuse is also high among young members of the Traveller community. Discrimination issues pose a problem, especially in young men and there is also pressure on Travellers who have sexual identity issues which is understandable since Travellers have very traditional values. Margaret Corcoran-Carr 19


Plain English: How to Make it Work For You Plain English is a way to write and present information so that a reader can understand and act on it after just one reading.

Plain English means: • Writing accurately and clearly for the reader. • Avoiding complex terms. • Using clear layout and design. Examples of plain English techniques include using personal pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘we’ and using active phrases and everyday words. Other techniques are removing unnecessary words and using sub-headings and lists to break up dense text. If you would like more information and free A-Z Plain English Guides to financial, legal, political and citizenship terms visit NALA’s plain English website www.simplyput.ie. Plain English and you At sometime we have all had to try and read an important but hard to read letter or set of instructions. You will remember the confusion you felt at this time. This experience is worse for the one in four Irish people who have literacy and numeracy difficulties. By using plain English, you can reach more people. Using plain English helps all of us to: • Better use services. • Access entitlements. • Fulfil our potential. By not using plain English, people can stop using your services. Complicated communications and procedures lead to misunderstandings, mistakes and complaints. They also create unnecessary disadvantage for people who have literacy difficulties, some of whom are members of the Traveller Community. 20

Example of text before and after plain English Extract from an information booklet on the National Fuel Scheme. BEFORE

AFTER

Where two or more people who would qualify for a Fuel Allowance individually are living in the same household a single Fuel Allowance will only be paid to one qualified person in that household.

Only one person in any household can get Fuel Allowance, no matter how many people in the household qualify for it.

Plain English in Ireland In Ireland, there is growing awareness of and interest in using plain English, particularly among the public sector who now mention plain English in the Public Sector Reform Plan. To date, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) has worked with four Government departments, more than a dozen State bodies, a number of local authorities and private organisations to improve their written communications. NALA supports organisations who want to have clear communication with their customers, staff and funders. Plain English support NALA provide a plain English editing and training service. We can help you make your documents or website easier to read. We also have a Plain English Mark which we award to documents or websites that achieve plain English standards. Finally, we provide plain English training so that you can create more reader-friendly information. For more information contact plainenglish@nala.ie or call Claire O’Riordan at (01) 412 7922.


Horoscopes

ARIES

Sometimes when you play with fire your bound to get burned, be careful when dealing with others feelings or it might just backfire. This summer is your chance to shine.

TAURUS

You have the ability to do whatever you put your mind to, trust in that ability to put you in a better situation at home. An unexpected invite this month will prove just what you need.

GEMINI

It’s arrogant to assume that if something matters to you, it also automatically matters to someone else. Your opinions matter, but don’t force it!

CANCER

People can sometimes test your better side, don’t allow a family member to get you down. Sharing a syndicate this month will prove lucky for you.

LEO

• Children’s Play Area • Toddler’s Den • Cafe • Inflatable Play • Bungee Trampolines • Mega Slides • Internet Cafe • Pool & Air Hockey Tables • Various sized Party Rooms • Lots more party extras We cater for Mother & Toddler Groups, parties of all sizes, private functions, playschools, creches and summer camps!

It can be easy to get involved in a bitter matter between friends but when the dust settles it’s you that will be left red faced, take a step back this month and only advice if asked to.

VIRGO

Sometimes it’s good to step back to consider what you need right now, better views are often had from afar. A phone call out of the blue will mend some broken bridges.

LIBRA

Difficult questions can sometimes bring up difficult answers, be prepared for when that answer is not what you want to hear. Be prepared for great news this month.

SCORPIO

Time to prioritise what’s more important to you, what you want or what you think will make other people happy. Take a risk this month; you’ll be glad you did in the end.

SAGITTARIUS

It’s ok to be predictable sometimes, don’t be forced this month to leave your comfort zone if your not ready to make the leap. An unexpected appointment this month will bring good news.

CAPRICORN

Rethink promises you made yourself, consider how appropriate or achievable they are now? It’s not a failure to admit you’ve changed. An upcoming interview will prove successful!

AQUARIUS

You’ve changed your hair, bought a new wardrobe and promised yourself you’d shift those extra pounds, now what? Being happy means much more than looking good! An upcoming trip is just what’s needed right now.

PISCES

Book early to avoid disappointment!

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Exchange Educational Achievement Award The Exchange National Educational Achievement Award will take place on the evening of Friday, November 2nd 2012, in the Dublin City Council Building in the Wood Quay Venue.

Exchange House is now accepting nominations for National Educational Achievement Award. The closing date for receipt of nominations is Friday, October 19th 2012. The award is open to all Travellers from the 32 counties that have completed Leaving Certificate, Junior Certificate, GCSE’s and A levels, certificates, diplomas or degrees. This is the fifth annual award ceremony. Since the inaugural one in 2009, Exchange House has presented over 350 learners with the National Educational Achievement Award. When the Award was first developed it was decided that the purpose of it would be threefold: Firstly, it would congratulate students on a job well done, noting that this was their achievement as a result of all their hard work, the support of their families and their schools. Secondly, the Award highlights role models that already exist within the Traveller community. The recipients are all inspirational to any Travellers who are preparing for exams or who are thinking of returning to education. Accessing and successfully completing formal education is one of the ways that the Traveller community is taking charge of and guiding its future direction. The third purpose of the award is to show the wider community that there are positive things happening in the Traveller community. This event promotes positive images and sends a message that much is being achieved by individuals and the community in

general. Upon reflection of the previous years of the award there are many remarkable things to note. Each individual recipient has achieved great things in their own right, exploring their potential and striving to fulfil it. One of the most noteworthy things of all is that the number of recipients has grown year on year, reflecting the drive and desire within the Traveller community for formal education. Last year the awards were open to third level nominees for the first time. There were three recipients and we hope to see that number grow each year. Two of the recipients are still in university working hard towards their degrees. If you would like to nominate someone for an award, please go to their website www.exchangehouse.ie. For more information contact Paula Cullen, CE Supervisor, Exchange House National Travellers Service, Great Strand Street, Dublin,1 or phone 01 8721094.

Angela and Eileen McDonagh

nts ted ity.

Back Row (L-R): Pat Bennett, David Donohoe, Unknown, Dylan Hutchinson, Terry McInerney. Middle Row (l-R): John Cawley, Denise Byrne, Ali Casey, Emma McDonagh, Lena McDonagh, Melissa McDonagh, Lisa Cash. Front Row (L-R): Emma Hutchinson, Julieanne McDonnell, Catherine Collins, Sabrina O’Brien, Lena McDonagh, Rebecca McDonagh, Kelly Murphy. 23


Remembrances Michael Doherty

Tom & Dina Stokes

In loving memory Died June 23rd 2007

WATERFORD Greatly missed by all their Family and friends

In loving memory from the Sherlock and Doherty Family

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Male Grooming: The Newest Trend to Hit The Travelling Community!

It’s a true fact men are groomed to within an inch of their lives, as good as and if not better than any Traveller woman out there! It’s not just Travellers who at it – it’s men all over Ireland and not before their time I say!

Oh how times have changed. These days its not just the women who are expected to look the part. There is now more and more pressure on the men to look a certain way too. I decided to take a look at both sides of male grooming and chat to a few people who are for it and to those against it. So I hit the streets of Waterford to visit my local shopping centre and see what it’s all about. There is a Turkish Barber Shop/ Beauty Parlour there and this is my first port of call. It appears very busy and seems to be to be very popular with the men in the area. When I arrive there is one man having his hair cut, and he is quite particular about how he wants it done and another getting a hot towel shave. This looks quite relaxing I must say. One customer is having his hair streaked and all this going on without a hint of embarrassment. The customers are quite comfortable in there surroundings and hardly notice the other seven or eight men waiting patiently for their time in the chair. I would have to say that there is a certain air of confidence in the room and the customers look quite content to be seen attending to their personal grooming. I approach the guy getting the hot shave and he was happy to chat about himself. His name is Tom and he is 28-years-old. He is married with two children. He told me that he gets a hot towel shave twice a week to keep his skin looking good. He said “Sure there is no shame in it, my wife

gets her hair washed and blow dried once a week and sometimes gets her nails done and she always looks great. I like to look after myself too. There are men out there walking around who don’t take care of their personal appearance and they are the ones who should feel ashamed - not me! When my son gets old enough I will be bringing him with me and showing him that there is no harm in looking after yourself ”.  Next up is the fella getting the streaks in his hair. His name is Michael  and he is 19-years-old and single. He says he has to look good for the ladies! He told me “Girls expect you to look a certain way these days I would be a laughing stock if I arrived at one of the Weddings or parties and I didn’t have my hair done or if I wasn’t tanned.” He said he uses sunbeds a few times a week to keep his tan topped up. He told me “It’s all about looks these days and whoever looks the best on the night gets the best woman”. In the corner I spot an older looking gentleman who is just going for a simple haircut. I had to ask him what he thinks of male grooming. His name is Paddy and although he wouldn’t reveal his age he looks to be around forty years of age. He has been married for over twenty years and has four children. He told me “I think its a good thing when young men look after themselves. They could be doing worse things and there is no harm in a haircut or maybe a shave, but I do think some take

it a step too far. I mean look at him” as he points to the young man next to him who is having his eyebrows shaped and says “That’s just going too far, that’s a proper women’s get out now.” The customers burst into laughter and the he replies “You’re old fashioned you need to get with the times!.”  All the men agreed on one thing, there is worse things to spend your time and money on. These men are taking care of their appearance and doing anyone any harm. If a woman decided to book herself in for a pampering session for the day it would be completely acceptable to say she deserves a treat so why is it so different for a man? Tom’s wife, Mary arrives to meet him at the salon and I ask her what she thinks about her husband’s grooming routine. Mary stated “I say fair play to anyone looking after themselves – if the men are happy so are the wives and families. It’s just the normal thing to do these day. Men do use sun beds with their wives and I personally don’t see any harm in it. I like my husband making an effort with his looks because  it shows he cares. My two brothers would be the same now and they use sun beds and get the hot towel shaves and its normal to me for a man to look after himself .” So whatever your views are on male grooming - it appears that women love to see their man looking tanned, neat and well groomed! Theresa Murphy, Reporter, Waterford 25


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Jam Pots in The Old Days! Looking back in the past, some people say children were different than they are today. I have the same children but times have changed. I know this because I was a child in the 1940s and 1950s and I see today that we now live in a fast moving world, so different to the the world I grew up in. Writes Mary Collins, Waterford When I was growing up we didn’t have a whole lot but we had to make do with what we had and we had to make use of everything we had. Imp talking about the last war when everything was rationed and we had to use ration books for all our food. At the time Jam was one of very few things that was not rationed so every household always had jam. Every child, myself included, would watch and wait until the day finally came when your mother would empty the jam pot. Looking back it was such an exciting day. There was lots of fun to be had with the jam pot. The children would take it in turns to get the  jam pot and every Sunday most of the children in the parish would get together and walk out the back road about a mile away down to the river. The river was not very deep, we would all take off our boots and lay down the jam pots on the bed of the river .We would all sit and watch all the small little fish swim into the jam pot, whoever caught the most fish would be the winner. There wasn’t any prize for the winner in those days but the satisfaction of winning was enough.

On our way down along the river bank we would all fill our jam pots with black berries to bring home to our mothers to make some jam. Very seldom full jam pots reached home. We were all very hungry and we would eat the berries on the walk home! Also on our walk home we had to pass the Bishop’s Palace (that’s what we called the parish house in them days) and we crossed a bridge and walked down a big hill where the Palace was down a long lane. We used to time this walk very carefully everyday,

Traveller Stories – North Dublin through the eyes of the Travelling Community is an insightful new radio series produced by Northside Dublin community radio station Nearfm and Northside Traveller advocacy group Travact. Over 6 programmes, the series producer Leslie Murphy and narrator Paddy McDonagh explore the cultural identity of Travellers in 21st century Ireland with a nod to the historical aspects of Traveller life and a particular focus on Travellers of Northside Dublin. The series is presented in a lively manner, with meaningful interviews, music and sound effects and a wide range of contributors. The programmes show the positive and negative sides of the lives of Travellers in North Dublin and how social exclusion and discrimination hasn’t stopped Travellers improving their quality of

and we would always pick the time when the Priest’s helper was milking the cow and the priest himself would be away reading his bible or something like that. They did this at the same time every day. I remember the man milking the cow used to be very kind to us, He would say “Quick give me your jam pot” and he would give us a sup of milk that we would divide up between us all. At that stage of the day we would head home after being fed and watered and having a lot of fun along the way. But that was not the end of the jam pot. Sometimes if we had four pennies we could go to the pictures, so we would try sell the jam pot. You could get a penny for one off the local farmers so if you sold four jam pots you had the price of the pictures. I hope you can tell from my story that the jam pot was a very valuable thing to a child in the 40s and 50s and I have very fond memories of those times - which is why I get very tormented when I see the jam pot thrown in the bin and I think of all the fun I had with them. They were the good old days!

Traveller Stories

life, while at the same time keeping their culture and traditions alive and well. The series will broadcast every Thursday at 6pm from June 21st. Extended families, language, & history, Skills, education, Labour Market/employment opportunities, Ethnicity, Culture, weddings, Bare knuckle fighting, Traveller accommodation, health, social aspects of Traveller life will all be covered. In addition, Achievements by travellers in Music, sport & the arts, Religion, and Travellers & the Irish State, positive changes, Political participation among others will also be discussed. For more information Call Paul Loughran on 01 8485211 or Email: paul@near.ie. This series is made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound and Vision scheme. 27


Young Kerry Boxer wins his First Tournament

Cushen Vale were among a huge host of Munster clubs represented in a Juvenile Boxing Tournament hosted by Tralee Boxing Club in Ballybunion. There were 16 bouts in total and all of the young talent on view acquitted themselves superbly but special mention has to go to local boxer Patrick McCarthy with the 9-year-old unanimous choice for Best Boxer on the night. Well done to Tralee Boxing Club, all the participants, the generosity of the Army in providing the venue and the referee, John Regan, for a great night of boxing. By Jimmy Darcy

Grange Heights Youth Club, Mullingar The Grange Heights Youth Club in Mullingar Co. Westmeath offer a great service to the children of the Traveller community in Mullingar. Christina Joyce, Coordinator, invited us to visit the centre to see the young girls at their work. Youth workers Melissa Farrell, Jennifer Ayibiowu, Stephanine and Caroline Grenlan who busy at work with the girls who were cooking Rice Krispie buns as part of their cookery class. Melissa Farrell, Youth Worker at the centre, told me about all the different programs they have on offer at the centre such as football, pool, cooking, dance classes, costume parties and computers. The group also go on day trips. There was a great atmosphere at the cetre and it was a hive of activity on a rainy night! The girls told me that they enjoy coming to the youth club after school because it gets them out of the house and allows them to spend time with their friends. They love learning new skills and enjoy all the activities. The Youth workers explained that the girls group was just one of the groups who participate in the club’s activities and they also run programmes for older girls and boys. Melissa told me “The boys just received their awards at a ceremony held recently and both the girls and the boys clubs really enjoy their time here.” They also spoke about their upcoming events and how they were very excited for the boys to be playing away in their football games this Summer. We wish them all the best of luck here at VOTM and we hope to do a follow up on them in the coming months. 28

Caroline Grenlan, Stepahine Stencil, Christina Joyce, Jennifer Ayibiowu and Melissa Farrell.

Mary Nevin, Shannon Nevin, Joelene Nevin and Chloe McDonagh.


Let’s Talk About Drugs National Media Awards

Digital Switchover Programme

RTÉ Television is switching from Analogue to Digital Transmission on Wednesday, 24th October 2012. How will this affect you?

If you receive RTÉ from Sky, UPC, or any other Subscription service you don’t need to do anything. But If you receive RTÉ using an Aerial.

A GROUP of Young Travellers have scooped a National Media Award for a short film entitled “Choice” that looks at the dilemma faced by teenagers who are offered drugs.

These simple tests can help: 1. If you only receive RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2, & TnaG then your aerial is probably fine but may need to be pointed in the right direction 2. If you have RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2, TnaG, & TV3 from your aerial then your aerial is fine. 3. If you only receive RTÉ1 & RTÉ 2 through your aerial, and not TV3 or TnaG then you will need a New Aerial. In all of the above cases you will need a Set Top Box.

This talented group, members of the Western Traveller Youth Project, won the Overall Spirit Award at the Let’s Talk About Drugs Media Awards held recently.

Our Mission

The “Let’s Talk About Drugs” Media Awards were created to encourage the journalists, reporters, film enthusiasts and animators of tomorrow to start writing and talking about the drugs and alcohol issue in Ireland today. Organised by the Greater Blanchardstown Response to Drugs (G.B.R.D), these awards are aimed at primary and secondary school students, college students and aspiring members of the media, to stimulate debate around the drugs and alcohol issue in Irish communities.

• To identify and reach people they know in their communities who are in danger of being left behind, and assist them in making the switch to digital TV before Wednesday 24th October 2012.

The awards competition allows entrants to educate themselves and others about drugs and alcohol through cartoon strips, audio features, film, animated videos or newspaper articles. The winning submissions were published or broadcast through print, online channels and community radio in May. The drama was based on an information leaflet the students devised last year that highlighted the issues facing young people in the west of Ireland regarding drug and alcohol use. They developed the leaflet into the short film as part of a project while attending the Western Traveller Youth Project. The participants were given the opportunity to address this issue in a way that was relevant and meaningful to them whilst at the same time being very creative and skilful. The students received their award from Minister of State Roisin Shorthall, TD., at a special ceremony in Dublin in May. The Project had 12 participants and was lead by Martin F. Ward, the Drug & Alcohol Awareness worker with WTID.

• To mobilise people from community and voluntary organisations in Westmeath.

• To identify and reach people they know in their communities who are in danger of being left behind, and assist them in making the switch to Digital TV before Wednesday 24th October 2012.

Who are the people we want to inform? Who are the target group? • Older people • Living alone • Have less formal education • Rural population in isolated areas • Have few social networks want to inform? Objectives of the Programme That members of the target groups are: • Aware of the importance of making the switchover and the consequences of not doing so • Aware of the options available to them to make a successful switchover • Able to make a decision and exercise that decision For more info contact Clare Dully Tel: 086 6380266 Email: claredully@yahoo.ie or visit www.goingdigital.ie

Can you Spin a Yarn?

Meath Travellers Workshops are dedicated to promoting and preserving Traveller heritage and culture. They are currently in the process of launching an online video channel showing elderly Travellers recalling old stories and memories of times gone by. The site “Traveller Tales” will be a unique and special website which will allow viewers to experience the tradition of fireside story telling. Meath Travellers Workshops are asking all readers to get in touch if they have a family member or know someone who might be interested in getting involved. If you have a story to tell then a member of the team will be more than willing to come to you to film your story. Traditional story telling is an important record on Traveller history. Meath Travellers Workshops would like to preserve these precious memories so younger members of the community can learn from them and appreciate this special part of Traveller heritage. Filming will start soon. If you would like more information or would like to nominate someone in your family, please contact Michael or Sinead in Meath Travellers Workshops on 046 90 27801 or email info@travellerheritage.ie. 29


y l l a S & y d d a P r a e D

etc. ng different names si u d te n ri p e ar s tion s to Annie. All ques on ti es qu r u yo d n Se . You have to OUT FEAR OF COMING

: Dear Paddy & Sally old male ar ye I am a nineteen ily are putting m fa y m d Traveller an me to get a lot of pressure on introducing me married. They keep in the area. ls gir to all the single gay. I love my The problem is I am nt to move family and don’t wa ay be the only m away but I feel this my family of ne option for me. No at I am gay. I know or suspect th they find out I am terrified that if of my family or will be thrown out ? Patrick do I ll worse. What wi

ry easy Paddy: This is a ve t me out of the close tell your family. Co her ot M ur Yo n canoe! and paddle your ow ll wi d an u s love yo at least will alway start uation so maybe sit e th d an underst ect sp su They probably by talking to her. to u yo r fo st waiting anyway and are ju m fro it ke ta d an them confirm it. Talk to there. You difficult situation. Sally: This is a very d an ily m fa out to your have got to come ld ou sh dy bo no d ury an this is the 21st cent e. ts like this anymor have to keep secre unity needs to be m The Traveller com d let is area and live an more tolerant in th ur yo pe ho d an st the be live. We wish you e and respect you. family will still lov

OVIDING HUSBAND NOT PR

lly: Dear Paddy and Sa d ely Traveller man an lov a to d rie ar I am m ried ar m tiful children. We we have three beau y m never finishing young and I regret ite and can’t read or wr sb hu education. My can he en wh s He does job and is on welfare. s ay alw ve ha I . ey th mon but we struggle wi uld ing a nurse and wo dreamed of becom me let n’t wo d an sb y hu like to train but m for ide ov pr med. I want to because he is asha n help. Kathlee my family. Please

LONELY HEART

lly Dear Paddy and Sa d man and mother an wo er ell av Tr I am a m the father of my I have separated fro ed absolutely dedicat child. Although I am eet m to nt wa I ughter, to brining up my da n’t do ily of my fam another man. Lots I ting someone but ee m e approve of m how on s tip my life! Any need some love in ? I can meet someone

30

leen, you have Paddy: Now Kath d you must lie made your bed an will get a job d in it! You husban his role to is it d eventually an mily. provide for the fa u for wanting to yo on od Go : Sally mily. Go out and fa provide for your . Your husband get your education eventually, will come around t then that’s just hopefully, and if no you don’t follow too bad for him. If e only going to your dream you ar him in the end end up resenting anyway. d I wish you all Paddy: Go for it an rld. You must wait the luck in the wo oach you though for a man to appr ng yourself out and don’t go putti there. ll by the horns! Be Sally: Grab the bu e internet dating proactive, try som ting event. Pubs or go to a speed da t places to meet ea gr and parties are rule out finding people and don’t work. Let your someone through you are looking to friends know that luck! date again. Best of

Send your problems to Dear Annie, Voice of the Traveller, Involve, Unit 1, Monksland Retail Park, Athlone, Co. Roscommon or email them to voiceofthetraveller@involve.ie


Moy Sports Soccer Tournament in Ballina

Moy Sports Forum Men’s 5 aside indoor soccer tournament which ran over two months in Scoil Padraig concluded in a thrilling final between Rovers and Ardnaree. Eight teams took part in the tournament, five from the Parkside area, two from Ardnaree and a team from the Karen Burmese community. Ardnaree started really brightly and went 2 goals up but Rovers hit back in spectacular style and went 3 – 2 up but just before full time Ardnaree hit back and forced extra time, again Rovers went 4 – 3 up, Ardnaree did everything in their power to equalise but after an exhilarating game Rovers prevailed to win the game 4 – 3. The winning team was captained by Shane Maughan with players Paddy Maughan, Stephen Maughan, John Paul Collins and Thomas Moyles. Ardnaree was captained by Trevor Marshall with players Jason Moran, John Casey, Gerry Casey, Nigel Lackey and Brendan Lackey. The match officials were Tommy Humber and Paul Byrne of the FAI. Presentations were made by Christina Kavanagh, Rapid Coordinator Mayo County

Council. The tournament was co-ordinated by James Maughan, Involve Youth Services. Moy Sports Forum was established in November 2010 by Mayo North East, Mayo Sports Partnership, FAI, Ballina Town Council and local resident representatives from Parkside and Ardnaree. The aim of the Forum is to encourage sport and physical activity among all age groups and to promote the responsible use of the outdoor sports facilities in Cluain na Ri, Greenhills Estate and Mercy Park. The Forum is particularly interested in encouraging participation from those who are not members of mainstream organisations. Activities have included soccer and tennis coaching, sports days, guided walks and Boxercise. The Forum meets once a month in the Ballina Family Resource Centre to plan activities and has expanded membership to include the Mayo Traveller Support Group, Involve Youth Services, Sean Duffy Centre, Ballina Town Council under the Rapid Programme. Ballina Neighbourhood Youth Project and Over 55s also attended the last meeting.

New members are welcome, in particular members of the community and anybody interested in joining the Forum should contact Gerry Mulherin at Mayo North East on 094 9256745, Christina Kavanagh, Ballina Civic Offices on 096 76100 or Anne Ronayne at Mayo Sports Partnership on 094 9047022.

Navan Involve Youth Group Meets President 9 young people took part in this years Show Racism the Red Card Competition by making a DVD on the issue of discrimination. Over 10 weeks they wrote, directed and starred in their own DVD, which is very relevant to them. As members of the Travelling community they’ve all dealt with discrimination at some stage in their young lives. Their DVD investigated when discrimination starts and where it comes from. As part of this competition some of the entries were chosen to attend an event at the Aviva Stadium on the 19th April to display their projects, Involve Youth Project was one of these entries. On the day there was also an opportunity to meet with the President, Michael D. Higgins, as he was giving the opening address. On his way to the conference room the president stopped to view the stands and speak to the participants. On two different occasions on the day, the president referred to the Involve group and their project which was a great honour. Although the group left the Stadium without a prize their spirits were high they vowed to be back next year for an award. Involve Youth Project and Voice of the Traveller would like to congratulate the group from Youthreach Progression in Navan for receiving a commendation for their Newsletter entry.

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on Candice McCarthyday her Communion

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e , Tralee who mad . er n lk u Fa ce di n Ca munion recently her First Holy Com

Ennis at her First Megan Sweeney ill be featured on w Communion. She Gypsy Life for Me the TV Show A

line McCarthy Michael and Caron Mikey’s First celebrate their son with brother Holy Communio Marissa. Pa and sister

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Know Your Rights Question: What is the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

Answer: The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance helps you to pay for uniforms and shoes for children going to school or college. In 2012 the age limits changed, and it is now paid to children aged from 4 to 22. They must be aged between 4 and 22 on or before 30 September of the year that you apply for the payment. Children aged between 18 and 22 must be in full-time education in a recognized school or college. The rates have also changed in 2012. The allowance paid for each eligible child aged between 4 and 11 on or before 30 September 2012 is €150. The allowance paid for children aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2012 is €250. You (the parent or guardian) must be getting certain social welfare payments or payments for training, employment schemes or adult education for at least 6 weeks between 1 June and 30 September. The scheme operates from June to September each year. The start date for the 2012 scheme is 1 June 2012.

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Question: When and how can I apply? Answer: In 2012 the Department of Social Protection will pay the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance automatically to a large number of people. These people will get letters from the Department of Social Protection in June telling them when and how their money will be paid. This means that a lot of families will not have to apply for the payment. However, if you do not receive an automatic payment you must apply for the Allowance. If you do not receive an automatic payment you will need to fill in an application form which can be got from: • All Social Welfare offices. • Website www.welfare.ie • Local Health Centres You can also text ‘form BTSCFA’ followed by your name and address to 51909. Completed application forms should be returned to: Department of Social Protection, PO Box 131, Letterkenny, Co Donegal. It might take a few weeks to process applications. You will get a letter informing you of the decision on your application and, if it is approved, when and where you can collect your payment. For More Information Lo Call 1890 66 22 44 The Department will look at all applications received and will post updates on their website www.welfare.ie on the progress being made in processing them. 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, 0761 07 4000.

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My Golden Boy: Worth The Wait

As a young girl, I had the same dreams as every Traveller girl in the country - to have a big white wedding, get my own place and most important of all, to have my own baby. But as I would find out, life never goes according to plan and it took me nearly nine years and a hell of a journey to finally hold a baby that was mine. My name is Maria Murphy I am 27 years old, I got married when I was seventeen. I met my husband in the summer of 2001 and we married that November. After we got married I moved from Waterford City where I grew up, and I set up home with my husband in Co. Wicklow. We were so happy and in love those first few years and we were always at a wedding or a party somewhere in the country. We loved our nights out. We could go visiting family for the day and end up staying a month and we were always on the go. Before I realised it four years had passed and there was no sign of any pregnancy. At first I didn’t want to admit there was a problem. People would always say that my time would come I was still only 21. I didn’t want to go and get checked because I was afraid of what the doctors would tell me. Deep down I knew there was a problem but I just didn’t want to face the facts. Through the years my sister had a few children and my brother’s wife also along with cousins and friends. There just seemed to be births everywhere around me. I would always be the cool auntie or the life saving baby-sitter, but I always had to give the baby back. I realised I just wanted my own child . When I eventually attended my doctor, he told me something wasn’t right and I needed to go for tests. Looking back now, I don’t know why I was so worried at all. I was referred to Wexford Hospital for tests and my doctor made it all sound so fixable that I was very much at ease with it all. I was put on drug called Clomid which is a drug used to stimulate ovulation. Sadly, it didn’t work for me I got a bit depressed because of that. It felt like every woman I saw was pregnant, everywhere I looked there was someone after having a baby or another woman pregnant again but I never gave up hope. After that I started attending the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin where I found out my fallopian tubes were blocked. While it was a shock at first, it was also a relief, because at least I knew what the problem was and how it could be fixed. The doctors in the Rotunda explained everything very clearly for me

and told me I was a very good candidate for In Vitro fertilization (IVF). This would be the best option for us. I felt very fortunate that even though there was a problem the doctors could still help us and we had a long chat about the process. Traditionally, IVF was frowned upon by many Travellers and while we were conscious of this, we decided we would not let anybody’s opinions deny us the chance to have a family of our.  In preparation for the treatment, we had to go through some professional counselling together and we were asked why we wanted a child, give details of our medical histories. We also attended The Human Assisted Reproduction Ireland (HARI) centre at the Rotunda where I had several blood tests every month for a few months blood tests to check hormone levels. There were tests for all sorts of things I had never even heard of. These tests determined which IVF treatment suited me and my body the best. There are two types of treatment, one being a longer

process than the other but thankfully the short option suited me the most. Now that was the easy part! I had to be really healthy to give the IVF treatment the best chance to work. I had to completely change my lifestyle. I gave up drinking and smoking and cut out junk food. This was hard but the thoughts of holding my baby kept me positive. I had to give myself a daily injection at a certain time every day which the nurses trained me to do. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but also the most rewarding. When the day of my treatment came we were so excited, emotional and nervous all rolled into one. The procedure worked and when I found out I was pregnant, I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life! Both our families were so happy for us. We rushed straight out and bought prams, cots, swings nappies, bottles. We had everything except the baby! We were so excited as we had waited eight years for this glorious news. I sailed through my pregnancy and my son, Billy, was born on the 17th November 2010, weighing 8lb 8oz. A perfect happy, healthy baby. The treatment from start to finish took fifteen months. I won’t lie and say it wasn’t hard, it was - but when I look at my son now, it has all been worth it. The best advice I can give is go to your doctor straight away and get the ball rolling. It might only be some thing simple that can easily be fixed and the longer you leave a problem the worse it gets. Never give up hope, where there’s a will there’s a way and there has been such improvements and developments in the medical field now that there is no excuse for not getting checked out. There are such gifted doctors and surgeons in hospitals throughout Ireland that are just waiting to help you make your dreams of having a family come true, just like they did for me. I am proof that dreams do come true, after many hospital visits, tests  and emotional breakdowns, my son is here! I’m a proud Mother and he is my reason to get up each day. Worth the wait! 35


t u o b A Out &

have a otographs! If you ph ’s er ad re r ou a selection of us by post delighted to print is r le el ease send it in to av pl Tr e e in th az ag m e Voice of th like to see in me that you would ho at ph ra og ot ph ie traveller@involve. Davy, Kathleen, or email voiceofthe

Charlene and Marquerite Keenan from Ennis attending the St. Joseph’s Training Centre Awards

ends.

th birthday with fri

ating her 40 from Tralee, Celebr Christina Boland 36


Martin and Bunty Mongan who had ten sons playing in various teams at a recent Soccer To urnament in Enni s.

Pictured here are our First Aid participants in Involve Youth, Navan, who received a Certificate from the Civil Defence.

37


Tom McDonagh, Pat McDonagh, Patrick McDonagh and Brian McDonagh The nice guys from Ennis!

are Marguerite and Cl ry er Ward at Blackb oup Lane Women’s Gr

38


Patrick McDonagh and Tom McDonagh at a 21st Ba ll in Lynch’s West County Ho tel, Ennis.

Ennis performed at the Mary and Davy Keenan in Ennis. ntre Awards Ceremony St. Jospeh’s Training Ce

Bonnie Doherty, En nis attending her sister Donna’s Wedding in Donegal recent ly. 39



Voice of the Traveller Magazine Summer 2012