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May 2012 Issue 84 â‚Ź3

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TM as we are g away here at VO g The office is buzzin ry producers lookin ta en from Docum lls . ca ity ith un w m d te m co da inun e Traveller rammes about th og d pr an ith ys w da lp e he es r fo edia th big news in the m Being a Traveller is ing made are now be es m m ra the prog thankfully a lot of on the negative sitive rather than focussing on the po past. Be sure to en the case in the aspects, as has be ve your say on e u would lik to ha yo el fe u yo if us t contac rammes. ue one of these prog rmation in this iss We also have info n io tit pe m co g about an upcomin the “Face” being held to find avellers. Tr d an of Gypsies in with a g in be as As well e money, chance to win som fers the of this competition nity to rtu po finalists the op rticipate pa to on travel to Lond tition. One in the final compe a look at. well worth taking documentary You may have seen t ker to Traveller las Unsettled - From Tin in e ar sh to os t phot we have some grea month on RTE and ributor this month nt co t es gu r page. Ou customed to our Memory Lane . Readers will be ac de ar W ) nz ea (B with in each is Martin Martin provides us at th kle uc ch lar the regu ng about more , Martin gets talki th on m is th t bu , issue t it on page 10. u can read all abou yo d an re s ue iss us serio ing the positive he r motto of promot ou se to ni e De tru g es in ur at ay St ofile fe th our personal pr se ni De . ity un m at VOTM, this mon m e Donegal co th in ht lig ng di lea Delaney, a on page 33. all and her story is is an inspiration to reports from of has a wide range This issue not only rt on the po re , but also a nice around the country aveller community Tr e th of e members os th of es nc rie pe ex perience life in e opportunity to ex r? Read it that have taken th hills really greene ay aw r fa e Ar . try another coun ge16. for yourself on pa ngth to strength ues to go from stre in nt co g sin rti ve Our ad sements from we feature adverti ue iss is k th in ain ag and ke the time to chec suppliers. Please ta y dl to en et fri rg fo er t ell n’ av Tr a call. Do ses and give them out these busines ice of the Traveller Vo in d ad saw their ect, and it is mention that you , a community proj all r te af e, ar e W bers that keeps Magazine! pport of our subscri su e th d an t or pp their su int! our magazine in pr coffee mornings in des in Donegal to ra pa l fu ur lo co From urful and vibrant you enjoy this colo pe ho s so e w , ey rn lla Ki e lookout for new e are always on th e to lik ld ou w u issue of VOTM. W yo is something e er th if h uc to in please get next issue. see profiled in our 2


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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): Laura (Manager, Community Services Progr.): Kathy (Sales and Marketing, CSP): 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: 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. Voice of the Traveller is funded and supported by the following:

On the Cover

… e u s s i s i h t In

Second Guest Contributor

Martin Beanz t Warde talks abou n io at lis the margina . of Travellers

Winners of Letterkenny Parade



8 Tinker to Traveller Photo Archive 10 Marginalisation of Travellers 12 Winners at Letterkenny Parade 16 Spike Island, Cork. Ireland’s Alcatraz! 19 Supporting Boxing From UK

8 Regulars

4 Photo of The Month 5 Martin Beanz Warde ‘The Aunty’ 6 News Roundup 13 Horoscopes 14 Memory Lane 32 Dear Annie 34 Wedding Profile 38 Out and About

From Tinker to

Californian Anthro


pologists release

Donegal Travel

For their entry in

photo archive.

lers Awarded

the Letterkenny Pa


trick’s Day Parade



Photo of the month

z n a e B n i Mar t y t n u A e on Th For as long as I can remember, Aunty Tina has been the overweight giant bringer of bad news and baetins in our house. I remember one summer when I was out playing soccer with the lads and the football landed in her garden. Out she came like a dinosaur in heat, drawing in air like the hoover from Tellytubbies. At a speed of approximately 20 yards a second, there was nothing we could do but run from the asteroid coming our way. She was a smart woman though, she would always run in an angle in an attempt to dissemble the stampeding herd of scabby nosed children. I was usually the one that was caught and bet worse than Rocky Balboa’s nose in the fight he almost gets bet but makes a comeback in while cheap 80’s music is playing in the background. Anyway, she would catch me by the lug and baet the lugs off me for about ten minutes or until one of the other adults took over. She would

Out she came like a dinosaur in heat, drawing in air like the hoover from Tellytubbies.

be sweating like a pig getting called by a butcher, drool dripping from her lovely mick jagger lips and her hair tossed like a raggedy Annie dolls head. Aside from the overweight features of a 3 year old female hippo, our aunty Tina would have the biggest set of hands found outside the animal kingdom. This woman could baet men for fun, and had done up until her hip operation. She had an awful habit of turning up at my mother’s house with the woodbine in the lip and her man hand on her hip. You knew she was going to get one of you kicked like a tyre because of the way she looked at you. The evil eye was cast on you, and she would almost be smiling as she gave the information that would inevitably get you

a few decent kicks. So back to this football that landed in her garden, her beautiful little garden. This garden looked worse than the car park of the Clara market. So the football sat there for a few hours because none of the other boys would dare go into the lair of the T-Rex. Poor Tina was probably so bitter because she only had one son; one absolute Gomey of a boy. His name was Alan, but we called him the burp. Alan got his perfectly chosen name because of his extremely technical ability of burp-talking. He could recite a full song through the melodic sounds of his Fanta burps. He was always good for a laugh, although we were the ones laughing, at him. Poor auld Tina thought the world of her son until that one fateful day, the day he returned with a “country wan”. Tina was over at our house barking like a dog with parvo, the smell of jays fluid off her added to the image. “He’s datin” she says, “datin” my mother says, “datin who?”, my aunty turned round to see if anyone heard her because God forbid anyone would have their mouths filled with gossip about her little alter boy of a child. “datin a buffer wan” she whispers at my mother, while clutching her chest for dramatic affect. “Datin” my mother says, “ I know” says Tina “she will trap him im tellin ya”. My mother started to laugh, until Tina started biting her Mick Jaggers lip. No way was my mother going to laugh at a dinosaur hippo who has already started to chew on her own body parts. Alan on the other hand had by then decided that he was to marry this “young wan” from town and that she was the love of his life, and that he didn’t care about what the world thought. For a while I was thinking, you know what Alan, fair play to ya with your spuds head on ya, fair play. But I soon changed my mind and started to rethink the situation. Alan had only started texting this girl two days before and he had never met her. He was, at that moment in time, elevated from being just a dopey joe soap to a fully-fledged half innocent boy. Aunty Tina

was rushed into west-doc that night with bad chest pains. She spent 45 minutes arguing with the other patients shouting at the how her family problems are far worse than there bleeding eyeballs. Turns out auld aunty Tina had trapped wind and a bit of a stitch

No way was my mother going to laugh at a dinosaur hippo who has already started to chew on her own body parts. from all the running around that day. Alan unceremoniously got dumped by the “young wan” and is recovering from the traumatising experience in his mother’s house. So for everyone reading this I would like to remind you. You all have that one aunty who would baet the brains of ya for no reason other than that it makes her happy. You all have that one cousin who is a little bit of an eejit. You all have different relatives that do all sorts of stupid things. So rejoice in the fact that we are all a little bit daft in the head and some like me are as soft as a brush. I dedicate this to my aunt Tina, the woman with the dinosaurs head and man’s hands, that she may get an ingrown toe nail for never giving the football back to us. Check out Martin’s Facebook page for other columns and articles at Martin Beanz Warde, a three course rant. 5

News e A Gypsy Life FLifoe For rM our Me is returning to

Gypsy Sky Television’s A Bio Channel are Television and the screens. Daisybeck is new series. d excitement to th an e rv ve e m sa e th bringing Gypsies and on for the “Face of is ch ar se e th , on This seas rtunity to win a and there is a oppo ies Travellers in 2012” male Face of Gyps e Male and the Fe be ll €1,200 prize for th wi s er nn wi 12 winners! Both d and Travellers in 20 t company and an en em ag an m ng di lea a th wi d contracte m photographic l to earn income fro there is the potentia arances and les, personal appe shoots, media artic ents. modelling assignm UK and Ireland filming across the be ll wi s rie The se le from the Gypsy months and peop over the next few en telling it like it munities will be se and Traveller com ries one, are now isin, the stars of se is. Jentina and Ro d confidence arm, charisma an ch th wi le op pe r fo looking ies in Ireland. Travellers and Gyps of ice vo e th be n who ca on as this could be Daisybeck Televisi Get in touch with a.chambers@ nd your photo to liz your big chance! Se m outside UK ne .uk or Telepho fro .co ns tio uc od pr ck daisybe 7. Check it out to 0044 771 6510 93 xt Te or 85 91 4 28 0044 113 /agypsylifeforme. on l Power Reported by Michae


rter Kerry) enjoying thy (Regional Repo ar cC M te eri gu ar M e morning. Also rry Travellers Coffe Ke e th at s at tre e th anager VOT Mag. eene (far right), M Gr a ur La is red tu pic

Killarney re in Killarney have Daffodil DaStyAnin ing Cent ne’s Traveller Train da

at year, they organise Students and staff r many years. This fo y Da l di ents and ffo Da g Centre. Local resid been supportin e Family Resource an ill sp munity lly m Ba co in d business an coffee morning re as well as local nt Ce er ell cakes av of Tr lot e nts baked a students from th e event. The stude th to ed vit andise in ch re er m we also sold representatives t success. Students ea gr a s wa learning t ng ea ni gr or a ty. It was and the coffee m e Irish Cancer Socie th r fo 00 ication €3 un m ise m ra co rship and and managed to o developed leade wh rs, se ni ga or e th thy experience for Marguerite McCar n too! Reported by skills and really fu

McDonough, hlone (L-R) Bernie At in ol ho Sc y’s on St. Anth d, Patrick McGinley ny Ward, John War hn Jo , . ey inl cG M Barney and David Hughes llins, Christine Reilly Co re ird De rs he ac with te


s Heard e ic o V ir e h T g in and also tt Ge we could imagine rning far more than

t y are lea ally took my interes The children toda e ideas and this re iqu un n d ow an it eir vis th in Athlone to coming up with . Anthony’s School St by s ed wa vit er in ell re of The Trav so when we we eller culture, Voice av Tr on ls ten pi nd pu ou eir ar s for give a talk to th thony’s school cater to oblige. Saint An a great system ve ha d an more than happy er community ell av Tr e th m ns gave fro n ntre. Deirdre Colli to fifteen childre who attend the ce n re ild ch e e ar th n re th ren. The child of education wi troduced the child in d an in in ty bl ili Du fac to e travelling me a tour of th ter and they will be let ws ne lture, a cu g in er uc ell tions on Trav involved in prod nts had lots of ques de stu y e an Th m it. re ete d if there we April to compl e from originally an m ca s er ell av Tr e including wher . s g on the roadsides w we get the storie Travellers still livin e Traveller and ho Th of ice Vo d an on n ns sio tio us es sc qu We had a di ls. I answered their d what my job entai res and meeting ctu pi eir th g for the magazine an in ren before tak ild ch e th were th wi e or ristine Reilly who spoke some m vid Hughes and Ch Da s, er ting. ch es tea ter e in th e e magazin some more of rk we do to keep th wo at and wh cts in oje ted pr t es some grea also very inter ve been involved in ha y’s ion. pt on ce th ex An . no St lture will be Students at ter on Traveller cu let ws t ne no e is th ly – ct on and feel that this latest proje g their newsletter in do t t ou ou ab ab e ed or cit m learn a lot They are so ex but also they get to em th r ’re fo t we en d an em luck only an achiev them all the best of e process. We wish ie Joyce ac Tr by d their culture in th rte po e newsletter. Re th g ein se to d ar looking forw

rme .com/agypsylifefo >> www.facebook

avan organise N t c je ro P th u o Y Involve gramme to ro P ls il k S id A st Practical Fir Unity Centre in rs e b m e m b lu Youth C e for young its first programm

pleted ct Navan has com oject in the Unity Involve Youth Proje Café and Youth Pr h ut Yo ity Un e th up r young people people since setting in October 2011. Ou ath Me . ea Co n, va Na ntre have undergon Centre, Windtown, ion in the Unity Ce ss se t gh by ni us ay to sd ne e delivered attending our Wed d Skills Programm ) practical First Ai ek we a fence. e nc De il (o ek Civ 5 we m Meath chael Fitzsimons fro Mi d an bers were very ds em oo m W b ie Bern and our youth clu se ur co l with sfu es cc Youth coordinator “It was a very su said Kay McCabe, ” ly. lar cy.” gu re en d erg de en ent of an em interested and att ols to use in the ev to sic ba th e th wi 12 ve 20 ha w lled out over Involve. “They no ities that will be ro tiv Ac ate h fic ut rti Yo y Ce an ee m otball Refer This is the first of ting Certificate, Fo sit by Ba y, fet Sa ke courses such as Bi n, . ity Centre Windtow to name but a few uth Café in the Un Yo a s ity ate tiv er Ac op h ut ity Yo e-booked Involve Project Un pm and also our pr 6-8 le m op fro t pe gh g ni un ay yo open to all Navan every Mond Both activities are . pm 6-7 m fro ts, on Wednesday nigh e you there! d 16 years of age. Se an 10 n ee tw be ed ag

nt Clare’s GoistfroTmaEnle nis, Co.

Certificate from ts who received a an cip rti pa d Ai st Our Fir Row (L-R): Bernie Pictured are: Back l the Civil Defence. ian Doyle, Michea ce, Aaron Byrne, Br en wr La y ike M , ds Woo aney, Mikey w (L-R): Shannon Re Fitzsimons. Front Ro Windtown, Navan. re nt yle at Unity Ce Do e len Jo h, ag on McD

Kathleen Keenan ans, a family of musici Clare. Coming from life. d in music all her she’s been involve g ll known recordin Her sister is the we r he d an an Keen artist Mary Francis ger. o a well known sin als is y ve Da r brothe rs her were also singe Her father and mot hool thleen attended sc and musicians. Ka St. rrently working at Mother Bridget. in Ennis and is cu Kathleen with her in Ennis. re nt Ce g in ain Tr Joseph’s s broadcast on through to the final Kathleen made it The competition wa t Flynn Go e’s ar Cl tition l Bridge and John round of the compe Clare FM and Nige l n na lee gio th Re r Ka l. ou ere g pane Talent and that’s wh were on the judgin erlock Bryan had Sh rie re a great support Ma we ily ne An fam r, Reporte n said “My lee th Ka th wi up catch th me at every step the opportunity to to me and were wi e. nc rie rforming and I go r expe and chat about he of the way. I love pe st fir n’s lee th and Ennis. I Ka is if th regularly in Galway g in sk Anne Marie asked bu sa e e audience”. It wa . It was my first tim love playing to a liv competition? “Yes e r ak he m ot to br n My lee th is. t for Ka g like th great achievemen to enter somethin e th d to an t t go len he Ta t d ago, an are’s Go it to the final of Cl was in it two years e iliar with how fam s be seeing a lot mor wa ll I wi so we ll, I am sure final as we e th en of be s ice ha Vo . future petition of Kathleen in the it worked. The com there were d an eping a eye on this s ar ke ye be o ll tw wi r Traveller running fo s wa is Th rt. at the sta talented performer. about 360 entries n then down to d an arie Sherlock Brya 0 16 to wn do Reported by Ann-M narrowed ts. the last 48 contestan

ings ee Mornalt Kerry Coavff h Worker eller Community He

Anne Casey, Tr mmunity ers Health and Co with Kerry Travell ccessful ct hosted a very su Development Proje ursday, 22nd r Daffodil Day on Th Coffee Morning fo was held in St. s the first time one of March. This wa Castleisland ised €122.00. The Anthony’s and it ra orker, Anita mmunity Health W based Traveller Co on Friday, 23rd ld a coffee morning Quilligan, also he would like to .00.  Both workers which raised €163 ted the coffee o came and suppor thank all those wh arthy cC M rted by Marguerite mornings. Repo

hell’s Road, St. Anthony’s, Mitc Coffee Morning in thy, Anne Casey, Molly McCar Tralee. (L-R): Anna Slattery, or Gillian WhartonCasey, Deputy May Mikey McCarthy

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/ r lle ve ra Voiceofthet 7

From Tinker to Traveller Forty years ago two Californian Anthropologists, George and Sharon Gmelch lived for one year in a barrel top wagon with Travellers on a halting site in Dublin. Four decades later they have returned to Ireland with a huge archive of photographs to find the people they once knew to learn what has happened in their lives in the intervening years.

When the Gmelch’s first came to Ireland in 1970 accommodation for Travellers was a big issue. They were young Anthropology students looking for an area of Irish culture to study. They soon became interested in Travellers and soon they were living among them in order to study their culture close up. They carried out some of the first academic research into Travellers and published a number of books including The Urbanisation of an Itinerant People, Tinkers and Travellers and Nan, The Life of an Irish Travelling Woman. Now, in their mid 60’s, the Gmelch’s return to a very different Ireland to undertake their final ‘Field Study’ with Irish Travellers. On March 28th 2012, a previously unseen archive of 3,000 photographs of Irish travellers taken between the years of 1970 and 1972 was handed over to the National Folklore Collection in UCD on behalf of George and Sharon Gmelch by members of the Connors, Maughan and O’Donoghue families.




Photo 1: Sharon and George Gmelch, Professors of Anthropology, California, pictured on their recent return to Ireland. Photo 2: Mary Joyce, Kathleeen McAleerJoyce and Mick Donoghue from George’s photo collection. Photo 3: Kevin O’Donoghue holding a photo of himself from 1971-72. Photo 4: Josie O’Leary with a photo of herself from 1971-72. Photo 5: Patrick Maughan with a photo of himself from 1971-72. Photo 6: George and Sharon Travelling in a Barrel Top carriage on their initial stay in Ireland in 1971. Photo 7: The front cover of the photo book published by George and Sharon. Photo 8: George Gmelch (centre) pictured with Kevin and Sally Donoghue.








Marginalisation of The Travelling Community

This month our Guest Contributor is Martin (Beanz) Warde. Martin is currently studying Sociology and Political Studies at The National University of Ireland, Galway. Martin discusses both the positive and the negative aspects of multiculturalism with particular attention to the Irish travelling community. He examines and discusses the ramifications and fallout to both negative and sensationalist media coverage and looks at the reasons why this marginalisation and segregation actually exists. Martin also gives an insight into the campaign by traveller representatives to have the Traveller community acknowledged as an ethnic minority. Since the 1960’s, Ireland has gone through many dramatic changes. One of those changes occurred in the form of an influx of foreign nationals seeking either work or asylum. Throughout the 1980’s the migration was in the form of people leaving the country, during the economic downturn. However, with the emergence of the Celtic tiger, came the prosperity and prospects of a bright and lucrative future for all. It was at the time almost dubbed the new land of opportunity. With the arrival of multinational industries and companies, came the waiting and qualified workforce. However, as work was so plentiful so too was the amount of foreign nationals, looking for the same chance at prosperity. During the lucrative days, the influx of migrants was not seen as something threatening, and most companies were happy to hire the migrants to do the jobs that some Irish people deemed beneath their 10

qualified status. Unfortunately, like every economic boom it came to an end. What is left in Ireland is the migrant workers still maintaining their menial low paid jobs, and the Irish that were made redundant or simply let go from their previous well-paid jobs are unemployed. It seemed that now, the once proud Irish worker, is now resenting the migrant for having the job that he is now happy to take. Of course the above is just an analogy and not a generalisation of the whole population. I mention the Celtic tiger because it was an important factor in the rise of multiculturalism in Irish society. The recession however, is one of the main factors why the multicultural society which was once highly regarded, is now often resented and at times despised. In France in recent years, the feeling towards North African migrants has come to be one of dislike and fear. The recent implementation of a law

prohibiting the wearing of the Muslim woman’s hijab or burka has caused much divide within French society. President Nicholas Sarkozy implemented the law, which caused uproar within the Muslim community. It is situations like this where forced integration has shown that multiculturalism can fail on some grounds. In the United Kingdom a similar ideology exists and is being represented by the British national party. The leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, has for many years been outspoken about the negative aspects of a multicultural society. On an Irish national radio station, Mr Griffin told 4fm’s late show host, Niall Boylan, that he wishes to deport the migrant workers and all illegal immigrants as well as asylum seekers. It is his belief that these groups of people are nothing more than a strain on British tax payers. On other interviews, Mr Griffin has stated that the Islamic movement in Britain want to switch the nation into Sharia law. A statement deeply contested by online groups such as the Muslim defence league. It would be impossible for me to speak about multiculturalism within Ireland without discussing Ireland’s indigenous community and minority group known as the Irish Traveller community. The Irish traveller community are an ethnic group within Ireland known for their nomadic lifestyle and separate list of cultural traits and traditions. Author,

Bernadette McDonald mentions in her book, An Introduction to Sociology in Ireland, that the travelling community are “an ethnic minority regardless of the contesting by the Irish government”. Bernadette McDonald mentions several things which are seen as unique to Travellers which coincide with the definition of ethnicity such as: Travellers have a long shared history with their own values, customs, lifestyles and traditions associated with nomadism. They come from a small number of ancestors. They have their own language, known as Cant, Gammon or Shelta and they have an oral tradition rich in folklore and also a distinct singing style, Although the obvious ethnical differences are evident and known by the Irish government, there is still a debate whether this constitutes recognition. Under recent pressure from the European human rights organisations and policy makers, Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice and Defence, must look at the Traveller issue more closely. In 2006, the Equality Authority made a recommendation that Travellers be recognised as an ethnic minority. Within a multicultural society, access to decision making and recognition, as well as respect are needed to progress harmoniously. I raise the issue of ethnicity because it is extremely important that ethnically different group get recognised in order to be a positive part of multiculturalism as a whole. Without ethnic status, the travelling community are not represented enough in the decision making process of government policy making. Without the access to decision making, there will never be a fair and equal chance of having policies put in place that is both mutually beneficial to both travellers and non-travellers. With a multicultural approach come different positive and negative issues. On the side of positive aspects comes the shared involvement within the local community. A wealth of knowledge to do with traditional Traveller culture and traditions can be exchanged with that of historical information surrounding the non-traveller communities. Integrating the travelling community into the general public society could help to bring more understanding about each other and reduce the amount of racism and discrimination. An example of

when poor communication and dialogue between the Traveller community and the settled community would be the situation in Drumgoold, Enniscorthy. Local Fine Gael councillor Paddy Kavanagh had recently been on RTE’s Frontline and described the actions of Travellers in his area as “ethnic cleansing of non-Travellers”. The councillor was referring to the manner in which some members of the travelling community were buying houses in one particular estate. Councillor Kavanagh described this buying as “ethnically cleansing

On the positive side, there are many benefits to being integrated well in society, such as cultural teachings and social diversity. On the negative side, there will always be an element of fear towards that which is unfamiliar to a community. out the non-Travellers of the area”. The Travellers in the area are said to be causing the other residents to sell their property, and, since the only people interested in buying the property are Travellers, he states that “the residents have no choice but to sell to the travellers”. This form of commentary regarding travellers by a politician seems to be left unchallenged by the Irish media. There was also another councillor named Darren Scully from Naas Town Council who stated he would no longer represent the “Black Africans” in his community as he has had bad dealings with them. This statement created a justifiable outrage among Irish people and politicians. A Labour politician reported Mr. Scully to an Garda Siochana under the Incitement to Hatred Act. Councillor Paddy Kavanagh, by his own admission has for the past 20 years campaigned

against travellers relocating to his catchment area. In 2007, Councillor Kavanagh described travellers in his town as “leeches” and “tax avoiders”. It is not strange that there was, and is, little interest in confronting those in power for being openly racist towards Travellers. The case of Paddy Kavanagh is an example of a negative aspect within a multicultural approach. It seems that some parts of society are not ready or willing to allow full integration to their community. It seems that prejudice, and sometimes fear, are the cause of disputes. Another factor in the unwillingness to allow integration comes from the impact of negative stereotypes, which are usually sensationalised on television and in other forms of media. One such example would be My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which is aired on Channel 4. The show creates the image that travellers are lavish in their weddings, have an abundance of unaccountable wealth, marry young, fight and dress provocatively. These sensationalism driven programmes do nothing to portray the real traveller person, and only focus on the minority within the travelling community. It is stereotypes like this that anger members of the settled community in times of financial hardship. Multiculturalism works best when all the cultures involved respect and recognise the traits of everyone else. I believe that both negative and positive aspects of a multicultural approach are evident in relation to The Irish travelling community. On the positive side, there are many benefits to being integrated well in society, such as cultural teachings and social diversity. On the negative side, there will always be an element of fear towards that which is unfamiliar to a community. Multiculturalism may also be a problem for Travellers, in that they may lose part of their identity and traditional nomadic ways if they become assimilated while integrating. Loss of culture and traditions are things which would be a great loss to society as a whole. Having an indigenous group like the Traveller community should be examined more in an academic way and not in a problem solving manner. Improving community relations cannot happen through a multicultural approach alone, it can only be reached by coupling multiculturalism with cultural and ethnical recognition. 11

Top Prize at Letterkenny St. Patrick’s Day Parade

A St. Patrick’s Day parade entry that young Donegal Travellers were involved in designing, constructing, choreographing, and marching in was awarded a top prize at the Letterkenny St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The festive Myths and Legends entry, which featured a carnival dragon, multicoloured silk flags, and salsa drums and bells, received an enthusiastic reception from the six parade judges and the thousands of spectators who lined Main Street in the town. The entry was an initiative of Donegal Travellers Project through its involvement in the PEACE III-supported Respecting and Connecting Communities Project. Young people from a wide range of communities and backgrounds contributed to the entry as part of the project. “The judges said to me that the colour and music of the entry made it so vibrant, and they thought ‘Respecting and Connecting Communities’ was a lovely theme, as well.” Parade Organiser Anne Condon of the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce said. “We were 12

delighted that they took part and equally delighted that they won a prize.” Design and construction of the entry started during the half-term break in February, when a group of young Travellers dyed silk flags, selected costumes, and engaged in team-building exercises that would help them to march up the street as a unit. In the following weeks, the young people created and rehearsed a drumming and movement routine, and also constructed a huge purple-and-pink dragon head with a long silk body billowing out behind it. The dragon was manoeuvred with great skill up Main Street by Keith Boyle (14), Steven McCafferty (14), Michael Ward (10), and Jason McGinley (9), who held the head and the body up with sticks as they walked underneath it. “I liked the big long walk up the street,” Jason said.

The silk flags were waved in intricate shapes during the parade by Samantha Ward (13), Chloe Wolstenholme (12), Debbie Ward (12), Nicole Ward (11), Angela Ward (8), and Gerard Ward (7). Christopher Ward (13) and Naomi O’Leary (12) provided the salsa drum beat that got spectators swaying happily all along the route. “I enjoyed keeping the beat for people to walk to,” Naomi said. R&CC Youth Worker Heather Manchester, who co-ordinated the “Myths and Legends” entry with help from DTP Youth Worker Caitriona Kelly and Involve Youth Worker John McGee, had high praise for all of the participants. “I was really proud of the young people,” Heather said. “They showed a lot of leadership, both on the day of the parade and during preparations for the parade.”


Aries Take a step back and consider what’s important right now! Positive changes needs you too make them happen.

Taurus A chance meeting with an old friend proves lucky this month. Standing true to your values will be hard but important to reap the rewards. Gemini A sudden ending opens doors to an undiscovered talent. Be impulsive and say Yes to an unexpected proposal next month.

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Cancer It’s your time to shine, remember your new year’s resolutions and make a move on them. Happiness is just a call away this month. Leo Move forward and don’t look back, what you feared too be the worst will prove to be for the best in the long run. Virgo Be clear on your opinions next month, the bigger picture seems obvious to you but takes time for others to accept. A new challenge will make your talent surface. Libra It’s ok not to be in control all the time, let go the reins and enjoy what’s going to be an exciting month. Expect great news soon. Scorpio It might seem difficult but admitting your wrong doing won’t be as hard as it seems. A new newsagent will prove lucky this month. Sagittarius This month will require you to be patient but be realistic with your goals. Accepting a friends help will prove successful in the end. Capricorn Extending a peace branch to an old foe will prove great for both of you. A new arrival makes spring the best one in years. Aquarius Time to stand up and face the music, support from a loved one will tighten a bond you thought was long lost. Pisces A kind gesture to a stranger this month will pave the way to a new friendship. Don’t hesitate too much as chances can expire. veller, to Voice of the Tra Send your letters common k, Athlone, Co. Ros Par ail Ret d lan nks Involve, Unit 1, Mo @in ller ave etr fth ceo or email them to voi


>> heritage

Memory Lane

If you have old photographs you would like to see featured on Memory Lane please get in touch with the team at Voice of the Traveller on 090 6498017

Rolling back the year


Doonie Connors, Holylands, 1971-72

A trip down memory lane 14

Author’s Mare

Anthony Maughan and Michael Donoghue in Blessington, Wicklow in 1972.

Cowboys and Indians Maughan and Eddie Donoghue pictured in Holylands in 1971.

Camping on the watery roads. Enn

is, 1971 15

Spike Island, Cork Ireland’s Alcatraz Spike Island lies off Cork Harbour and is 103 acres in size. The prison convict depot, it was used to house “convicts” prior to being transported to Australia. It gained a reputation as Ireland’s Alcatraz and it was in use as a prison through the Irish War of Independence, when IRA prisoners were held there. The prison was handed back to the Free State in 1938 and renamed Fort Mitchell, after John Mitchell, nationalist activist and political journalist.

The island remained the site of a prison and military base for the Irish Army for some time. Most recently it was used as a youth correctional facility. On 1 September 1985 inmates rioted and prison officers and the Gardai on the Island were held prisoner by the inmates. This facility closed in 2004. The island also had a small civilian population, which was serviced by a small school, church and a ferry service to Cobh. The island is known locally for having excellent earth for growing crops but the civilian population has since left the island however, and the island is now vacant, with many previous residents moving to the mainland nearby. In 2007 a local task group was set up to reopen Spike as a historical tourist site, and in 2009 is was announced that ownership of the island would be transferred to Cork County Council to enable its development as a tourist attraction. Spike Island has been developed as a tourist site guided tours of the island are now on offer. Tours now depart from the nearby port at Cobh. Students from KDYS recently took a trip to see what Spike Island was all about and were fascinated to hear all about its colorful history. Bridget Casey enjoyed the outing and said “Spike Island was a good day. We learned about a lot of things we didn’t know before.  We learned about Little Nellie and 16

how her family was split up. We found out about prison life on the island and about the British guns that protected the harbour from invasion.  We also were told about the Titanic that left from here 100 years ago.” Kathleen O’Sullivan felt that the trip was well worth while and she loved seeing the house where Little Nellie lived on the island. Kathleen said “We learned that Spike Island was more than a prison - it’s a Holy place too and so is Little Nellie’s home. We were told about a famine plot they found when the army was putting in a football pitch.  Many people died here while waiting to be sent to Australia. Killarney Youthreach is a great place because we go on trips and learn outside the classroom and this trip was very interesting.” John Joseph O’Brien was also on the trip and said “I found the trip brilliant and we were informed that Martin Cahill, The General, was imprisoned on Spike Island and was afraid he would be killed if he was by himself.  They also had a gun in the fort that could shoot 10 miles and it took 45 seconds to shoot as there was a lot of work to fire it and I found this very interesting.” Ellen or Little Nellie of Holy God was the daughter of William Organ and Mary Ahern, born in Waterford the youngest of four children in August 1903. Her father William had been a Labourer but joined the army in 1987 and was transferred with

The girls take a walk past little Nellies house. his family to Spike Island in 1905. While at Spike Island Nellie’s mother Mary took ill and died of tuberculosis in January 1907 leaving behind 4 children under the age of 9. William due to work commitments was unable to care for his young children and was forced to place them in orphanages, giving care of Nellie and her sister Mary to the good Sheppard sisters in Sunday’s Well, Cork. Nellie had lung tuberculosis and a serious curvature of the spine believed to have stemmed from a serious fall when she was a child so spent the majority of her time in the Infirmary. She was thought to have enjoyed her 8 month stay and the sisters showed a lot of care for her. Nellie had a great interest in religion and had wisdom beyond her years when it came to her faith. She spent most of her day speaking to God and relayed the secrets He told her to the sisters. She loved the chapel and visited it regularly to gaze at the statues and holy images that adorned the walls. She began to see apparitions of Jesus, our Lady and spoke of how she often saw the child of Prague dancing around her. The sisters were so greatly impressed with Nellie they recommended she be confirmed by the local Bishop who agreed to do it on October 1907, Nellie was still only 4 years old. The sisters brought Nellie’s request to the bishop’s attention and after careful consideration he made a special allowance

Blackberry Lane Youth Group Athlone

Tracie Joyce, Regional Reporter for the Midlands, took time out this month to visit Blackberry Lane Youth Club is located in the Community House at the Halting Site in Athlone. She spoke to the youth workers and some of the young people attending the centre. Ronnie Shanahan and Joanne Berry are Youth Workers at Midlands Regional Youth Service (MRYS) in Athlone. The group run a number of different Youth Projects in the town. Ronnie told us all about the activities they provide for the young people in Blackberry Lane such as darts, pool, entertainment room, outdoor activities and much more. Teenagers attending told us about how they are so excited at getting the chance to paint and decorate their “hang out room” as they call it so we took a look at the work they have done so far which was very impressive. Ronnie outlined the plans for the year ahead including a day trip with the boys of the youth club wo are going on a army boot camp! There was a great atmosphere at the club and Patrick McGinley, aged 13, said he enjoys coming to the Blackberry Youth club Patrick said “It gives me the chance to get out and socialize with my friends and I feel I have more self confident since I started attending the club.” Youth worker, Joanne Berry, said “I really enjoy working with the children here at Blackberry Lane. These teenagers are really taking ownership of the club and make the most of the space by becoming involved in painting and decorating the rooms. They have really put a lot of work into this project and although they we are low on resources, they make the most of their time here at the club”. Ronnie went on to tell us “We have purchased three laptops for the club in hope of getting both the older and younger girls who attend the youth club a computer training programme where they could get to learn more skills and help them with their education”. It is plain to see that the group are enjoying a great atmosphere at the club and they are making every effort to make it bigger and better. Voice of the Traveller wishes this group all the best for 2012. We hope you have a great year and go from strength to strength! Reported by Tracie Joyce, Midlands Reporter

Little Nellie and Nellie made her first communion on December 1907. Nellie died on February 2, 1908, and was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetary in cork. After a year her body was exhumed and was found to completely intact, she was then transferred to the convent Cemetery in Sundays Well, Cork. Nellie’s fame spread throughout Ireland and beyond, even reaching Pope Pius X in Rome. Her life story would prove providential for him. He had been considering lowering the age for receiving First Holy Communion when heard of Nellie and he took it as a sign and issued his decree allowing children to receive First Communion at the age of seven instead of the age of twelve. Reported by Marguerite McCarthy

KYDS Games Finals a Huge Success

On Sunday 29th January, Killarney, Co. Kerry played host to the annual KDYS Games Finals. The games finals have been held in Killarney for over 40 years and continue to be a huge success. 250 young people representing KDYS Youth Clubs and Projects, accompanied by their leaders, descended on the town for a day of fun filled competition. Competition on the day was close and exciting, all clubs and projects wore their club colours with pride. Successful events like this would not be possible without the dedication of the volunteer Club leaders and parents, who put in tremendous work, not just with the games programme but with all KDYS Events, throughout the year. Three venues were used on the day: Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre, Presentation Gym and KDYS Youth Centre. Many thanks to the management and staff of these venues for their help in planning the event and ensuring the day went off without a hitch. Special mention must go too, to the team of KDYS volunteers and staff present on the day, who were involved in planning the day, co-ordinating events, refereeing, adjudicating and stewarding. Without these the day would not have been the success it was. 8 Youth Clubs will now go forward to represent the KDYS in the Youth Work Ireland National Games Finals which will be held at the end of June. 17

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Supporting and Promoting From Across The Water are an Irish boxing club who are based in Manchester but still continue to support and promote Irish boxing from across the waters by getting their very own member, Leonard Gunning, to land an appearance on The Fight Show on Sky Sports tonight live, which was hosted by Frank Buglioni. Leonard Gunning, who is originally from Sligo in Ireland has continued to promote his passion for Irish boxing from a club based in Manchester. Leonard’s appearance on The Fight Show was a great way of promoting Irish boxing and there are hopes that maybe Irish boxing could have their own Boxing channel. While appearing on The Fight Show Leonard spoke about the victories of the boxers that currently fight for their club and also about the successes of the Irish boxers both in Ireland and England. Links to watch the show will be at the bottom of this article where you can like the show and give your comments on it, also by liking the link you will be helping to support the club in their hope of getting their own Irish boxing channel. Boxing has a lot of professional boxers who train very hard to compete in World wide competitions for light and heavy weight titles across the globe. They are international stars and continue to take Irish Boxing to its highest level and also to take its good name around the world. The support that boxing Ireland have from all over the continent is phenomenal, everyone who knows anything about Irish boxing will know how serious they take their sport. The boxers included with Boxing Ireland go up against world champions and give all they have and some box their way right to the top. They continue to support all their boxers and all the clubs around them, you can find them on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and you can give them your support and follow their work from these sites. They are an inspirational group who not only inspire the younger generation but also give great hope to the more mature

and professional boxers. From England to Ireland and throughout many other countries their work has reached 1000’s of viewers who enjoy seeing the sport do so well. The viewers and followers from Ireland are very grateful to Boxing Ireland as they are keeping the Irish boxing name famous as it also helps the boxing club based in Ireland to have a successful club to aspire to. Here is a look at some of the pictures of some boxing matches that takes place in Manchester, also more pictures, news bits, videos and much more can be found on their Facebook and Twitter social pages, and also links to watch the fights show can be seen on YouTube The Fight Show episode 10. Any other information that you may require can be found on their social networking pages. Reported by Tracie Joyce


reland www.boxingi >> s k n li b We


Opening the Vault!

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, officially relaunched The Vault Youth Space in Ballinasloe on 5th March, 2012. The Vault, (formerly D’Cube), is a Youth Service provided by Youth Work Ireland. The centre was damaged during the severe flooding in January 2011 and has been refurbished following months of extensive reconstruction. Marino Point in Ballinasloe is home to The Vault and the facilities in include a DJ Box, a meeting room and seating areas, table tennis pool table, flat screen plasma TV, DVD player, XBox, Wii so no shortage of entertainment there! Minister Fitzgerald met with the young people who were involved in co-ordinating the refurbishment project and with funding provided from the AIB Better Ireland Awards and Dulux Paints, the results are excellent! Youth worker Olive Shaughnessy was delighted with all the hard work and determination of the youth committee who were responsible for the project: “We have a fantastic committee of twenty young people, all aged between 12 and 18. These teens took ownership of the project from start to finish. Because of their hard work and dedication we have a space which is available to all community groups, youth clubs, schools and sports organisations for a very small fee,” said Olive. Ros McKeown is Chairperson of the Youth Committee and is delighted with the outcome. He told VOTM, “We ran a competition in our local schools, Ard Scoil

Elaine Ward chats to Minister Fitzgerald. Mhuire, Garbally College and St. Cuans Castleblakeney were the winners. They suggested “The Vault” as it represents a safe and secure environment where young people can come together and take part in various activities run by Youth Work Ireland.” The Involve Ballinalsoe Youth Project is also based out of The Vault Youth Space. A number of exciting programmes are run that meet the needs of young people from the Traveller community in the town. The project

Elaine Ward, Dean Ward, Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Lorraine Ward and Karen Campbell Involve Youth worker. 20

is currently involved in the NQSF process in association with County Galway VEC. Liz Loftus, Development worker with Involve Youth Service commented “we are delighted to be part of the Vault and look forward to continued close working relationships with Youth Work Ireland and County Galway VEC. For details of Involve’s upcoming programmes and summer events contact Coordinator April McGrath on 087 611 7740 or check out

Minister Fitzgerald with James O’Leary CEO Involve and Louise Ryan, Youth Officer Co. Galway VEC.

Tralee Boxing Club’s Robin McCarthy has Success in Dungarvan At the Dungarvan Sports Centre on April the 8th a top class boxing tournament was held. Top of the bill in her bout before the Olympics qualifiers was Ireland’s Katie Taylor.

Katie defeated her American opponent N’yteeyah Sherman. But more importantly for the Tralee boxing club, the first fight on the night featured Tralee’s own Robin McCarthy. Robin faced Tommy Harty of Dungarvan B.C. The Sports centre was packed to capacity for the show and a large crowd was there to support Harty, but young Robin was up for it. This was a great experience for the young Tralee boxer and he took full advantage of it. McCarthy went straight to work with his south paw jab, boxing very well. Harty’s style was more straight forward, and behind the jab he threw a lot of punches but young McCarthy moved well and was too fast and sharp for Harty. Towards the end of the first round, Harty caught up with McCarthy on the ropes but young Robin coped very well and answered punch for punch in the second and third round. Robin landed time after time, with solid left counters to drive Tommy’s head back. Robin boxed very well behind a sharp right jab, it was a great night’s work by the young Tralee boxer and he won by a unanimous decision. Katie Taylor said after her fight that she heard how well Robin had boxed and how proud she was of him. She commented that if Robin keeps up the boxing he will turn amateur in no time. “He has a great talent, something we have not seen for some time in a lad so young, so let’s hope he keeps it up. I am in no doubt that we will hear of him in the future. Best of luck to him” she said. Robin was delighted at the end of the night to take a photo with Katie. He said “she is someone I look up to in this sport and I would also like to thank my manger Tommy Kelleher for all that he has done for me”. We expect to hear more about these up and coming boxers in the future. Reported by Marguerite McCarthy


Far Away Hills Travellers young and old, single boys and married men and families from all types of  backgrounds among the travelling community are taking the leap and moving abroad. Some go to try to find seasonal work while others go to live permanently. Whatever the reason, it’s getting more and more common in today’s world.  After chatting to a few Travellers who have been abroad in the last few years, I have found out that the reason many are leaving is because of the recession. The ongoing battle  of racism against Travellers  is also a factor and in some cases it is just the Travellers need to travel, that helps them make that final decision to get up and leave. When the going gets tough the tough get going and that is exactly what Travellers all over Ireland are doing. They are breaking away from the recession depressed country we live in today and moving abroad in the hope of earning money for themselves and their families. In the past, it was not unusual for Travellers to go back and forth to England but now along with travelling to countries like Spain and Germany, members of the Travelling Community are moving to places as far away as America and Australia.  Leaving family and home and the areas that are familiar is a major decision to make and most Travellers don’t really 22

realise the sadness of the families they are leaving behind. Staying in contact with the family at home should be so much easier now than in the past but sadly that is not the case for the Travellers. Most of their older relatives cannot use or do not even own a computer and so it is difficult to keep in touch. I spoke to Ann O’Connor and she gave me a little glimpse into what life was like for her and her husband living in Australia  and how she coped being away from her family for the fist time ever . Ann got married when she was 17 and her husband found it hard to get work. He decided that he could not sit around Dublin and wait for the work to find him and he had to go out and find work to support his family. They heard about a lot of opportunities for work in Australia so they made the decision to move there. Ann said “I was so excited to go and even though I would miss my family, I couldn’t wait to pack my bags and start my new life with my

new husband”. They said their goodbyes and that was it - they were gone off to the other side of the world.  Ann said at first she really loved Australia. She was living in hotels and apartments as it was just the two of them enjoying the adventure. They met up with another married Irish couple and she felt it was nice to have the company and was not left on her own. It was a whole new world and every day she had a new experience. Ann commented, “everything you do out there is so different to home. At home, I would be lucky to see a beach a couple of times during the summer but out here I was at the beach every day. We ate out a lot and spent a lot of time on beauty treatments! We were always getting out nails and hair done - in other words we were living the high life!” However, far away hills are not always greener and Ann said that she soon started longing for all the comforts of home and family for a home cooked meal and “even though the food was nice, there is

nothing like the food at home in Ireland and there is only so many times a week  you can get your nails done!” she said laughing.  Ann was one of the lucky few. Her mother and father had a computer at home and she kept in touch on skype. She spoke to her family nearly everyday on the phone despite the time difference. “I would be ringing up saying goodnight and everyone would still be in bed” Ann said. “Because I could talk to my family everyday and see everyone too on the screen, it was so much easier being away from them”. Ann loved the sunshine and said “at home I had to cook and clean up all day but in Australia I was a lady of leisure – and I could get used to this kind of life!” It wasn’t long before the novelty wore off and all she wanted to do was go home again. Ann was very homesick and said she couldn’t imagine how people cope when they can’t talk to their family on Skype. “I have a lot of sympathy for people who don’t have the equipment to use Skype and they still have to go out to foreign countries to work and live while leaving family members at home even though talking on the phone is not the same as seeing someone face to face”.   After four months, Ann and her husband decided that Australia just wasn’t for them. She said “it’s a great Country but you just feel so far away and you know if anything happens to any of your family, God forbid, it takes you twenty four hours to get back.  Ann said she was glad that she took the chance and went away as she will always have her memories and lots of stories to tell everyone. For now she is quite content being home in Dublin. Ann is expecting her first baby this Summer. She is considering moving abroad next year but this time somewhere a lot closer to home! What advice would she give to those considering travelling to find employment in another country? “Anybody out there going to a foreign country should know it is not as easy as everyone thinks. Nobody is begging you to do work for them, it is not like that at all. While it is easier to get jobs, you still have to be willing to work really hard in very hot weather. You will miss everybody so much more than you think and I think that is what gets to everybody in the end, the lonesomeness. So, even though I am happy I went to Australia, I’m even happier to be back home in Ireland!” Reported by Theresa Murphy

Traveller in Sweden

Michael, a 19 year old Irish Traveller is living in Sweden with his family and extended family of Aunts, Uncles and cousins. This is his story.

I have been travelling around all different countries my whole life working with my father doing tarmac jobs. I love travelling around from country to country, but I live in Sweden now and I really like it here and have been here for the past two years. To me, Sweden is basically the same as living at home. Although in Sweden we have a lot more work to do. Here, you get to live in a trailer which I am used to doing. When I lived in America I had to live in hotels and motels and I would rather live in a trailer. Also I’m always surrounded by family, Uncles, Aunts and cousins. Also, that’s a thing you can’t do in America. Everybody has to live either on their own, or with another couple as it is too risky for lots of families to live together because of the fear of being deported. A typical day for me would be to get up around 6am, get washed and dressed well. You always have to look the part in this business! Breakfast off Mammy of course, who else! Then myself, and either my Father or one of my Uncles, usually two people together, would head out for a day of hawking for work. Hawking for work means we knock door to door around posh estates and houses asking people would they like their driveway done (tarmac or concrete) at a very good price. We would usually spend around six or seven hours doing this; at the same time we post our leaflets advertising our services. So it’s all work work work! Saying that though, life in Sweden is usually very relaxed and enjoyable. We stay in different campsites throughout the year. I am constantly surrounded by my family and friends which is always a good thing in my books. At least once a week, usually on a Saturday, the women have a few drinks in one of the trailers and they take turns hosting the group every week. The men usually go to the local pub then to watch a bit of football or play a game of pool and I take this opportunity for some “me” time in the campsites’ games rooms were I play some video games and chat to a few women! Hopefully, in a few years time, I will be married myself and I hope to continue living in Sweden. I don’t miss Ireland one bit because I have been living abroad for so long now and nearly all my family are out here with me. Also because it is only a few hours on a plane and I go back to Ireland once or twice a year with my Father for family weddings and funerals - just so we won’t be forgotten about! 23

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Job Coach with Special Initiative for Travellers in County Clare She worked for one year as Education Officer and a further two years as Information Officer. She is also very familiar with Welfare Rights and entitlements and has qualifications in Family Law & Education. Marguerite is also a qualified facilitator and tutor. She began the Jobs Club in November last and she is in the process of getting in contact with Traveller’s living in County Clare to offer help on securing employment in the region. St. Joseph’s Training Centre will close in June and Marguerite feels it will be a big step backwards for the Traveller community when the Centre closes. She has made a lot of contacts within the Centre and the management there have been very supportive to her role as the Job Coach for the Special Initiative for Traveller’s in County Clare. A number of learners at St. Joseph’s have expressed an interest in working with Marguerite once the centre closes and she feels it is now more important than ever to assist members of the Traveller community to get into secure employment, especially the younger Travellers who are leaving school. Her role will be to give them career advice and get them into training courses that will provide them with the skills needed to gain employment. If any Traveller wants to start their own business she would be very interested in talking to them, so that is quick review of what her job entails. With Marguerite’s experience as an Information Officer she will be able to inform members of the Traveller community by giving advice on available courses and also on how Social Welfare Entitlements are affected when individuals become employed. Marguerite feels that while some Travellers have expressed an interest in different areas

of employment, they do not have the right qualifications and that’s where she will advise them on how to go about getting those qualifications so they can get a job. She is also in the process of creating a database of Employers in the County and this will help towards identifying the qualifications needed for various positions in the community. Marguerite will also be doing Interview

Marguerite Donovan, originally from Ennis but now living in Quin, Co. Clare, was instrumental in developing a Community Employment Scheme in 2009 at the Congress of Information of Centre (CIOC).

Skills workshops. The Special Initiative for Travellers Job Coach can be reached at 065 6842492 or email Marguerite has a large number of Travellers on her register but she would like to increase her client base so please get in touch. The office is open Monday to Friday from 9:00a.m. to 5:00pm. Reporter Ann Marie Sherlock-Bryan 25

Remembrance Jamesy McDonagh In loving memory of Jamesy McDonagh, Dundalk. 4th anniversary on the 27th of March, loved and missed always by your wife Nelly, Sons, Daughters, Son-inLaw, Daughters-in-Law and Grandchildren.


Along the road of Suffering You found a little lane; That took you up to heaven, And ended all your pain. You may be out of sight, We may be worlds apart; But you are always in our prayers, And forever in our hearts.

We need people to Volunteer to Make Our Programmes Great! What’s your thing? Why should I volunteer? 1. Involvement of your children or family members in your local youth project. 2. Interest or experience in a particular activity or sport 3. Creating something better for your community 4. Sense of Obligation 5. Helping others 6. Better chance of getting a job 7. A chance to escape 8. Meeting other people Who can participate? Anybody over 18 years The parents of children who participate in youth programs are a very important group of volunteers. Parents who volunteer will have the opportunity to see firsthand what the young people are learning and doing while attending the youth group activities. While it is always advantageous to highlight the real benefits the local community receives from youth clubs and activities, many parents will respond more readily when the youth project highlights the benefits to their own children. Adults who had a positive experience with a youth project represent a very valuable group of potential volunteers, so don’t hesitate to apply!! When we are lucky enough to recruit older adult volunteers, we offer the

opportunity to help others, to help the community, and give something back. There is always an avenue for sharing experience and wisdom and young people need real contact with older people. Young adults are also very welcome as volunteers with youth groups and we always highlight the opportunities to help others, their community and to increase their social interaction. With the current high level of unemployment it is also important to know the positive influence volunteering may have on future job applications. As an Involve Volunteer you can make a real difference to the young people that attend activities. Sometimes youth workers and volunteers can be the first friendships with adults that young people make outside their family circle. You may work on: • Planning, Evaluations, Networking, Fundraising, Summercamps, one off events eg. soccer blitz, art groups, office work, attend meetings at all levels of the organisation and exploring your own ideas for providing opportunities for young people You can expect to gain: • Real insight into youth work, knowledge of the Traveller community in Ireland, information on Quality standards in Youth Work, challenges faced by young people on a day to day basis, energy and

Central Satistic Office 2011 National Census Did You Know? There are 29,573 Travellers living in Ireland according to the 2011 statistics this makes up for 6.4% per 1000 population. The population of Ireland is just over 4million. MALES: 14,625 FEMALES: 14,948 SINGLE: 19,059 MARRIED: 8,546

enthusiasm supplied by young people as well as training in First Aid, Children First and Leadership for a start. Potential programmes focus on: • Being Healthy: Youth projects provides the opportunity for young people to participate in a range of health related programmes, from sports and fitness to diet and beauty. • Staying Safe: We offer programmes that raise awareness about bullying, healthy relationships and raising self worth . • Enjoying and Achieving: Afterschool programmes for primary and secondary schools, Gaisce Awards, Certificate in First Aid are amongst the programmes offered under this heading. • Making a Positive Contribution: Programmes include projects on culture and heritage, being an active citizen and respecting the environment. • Economic Wellbeing: Understanding the education, training, work and its link to being financially independent. How to apply? There is an application procedure in place, details can be accessed through our youth projects. Details of all youth projects are on the Involve Ltd website, or you can call 090 649 8017 and ask for Liz, Noeleen or Angela. We look forward to hearing from you.

The first definitive results of the 2011 Census, undertaken on 10th April 2011, were released on March 29th. Compared to figures from the 2006 national Census the Irish Traveller population has grown from 22,435 to 29,573 in the most recent survey. The results state that Leinster still has the highest population of Travellers although that number has increased by 3475 to 14854 from the numbers calculated in 2006. The lowest number still stands in Leitrim with a Traveller population of 147 down from the last figures. Incidences of Divorce and separation are also on the increase with 188 cases being declared, the majority of those being within the 35-44 age bracket. For more information on the Census log onto the CSO website at and is accompanied by a range of interactive web tables which allow users to search and download the data using a range of criteria including geographic area. 27

Furthering Integration Through Radio Radio Station Near FM are currently looking to assemble a vibrant team of Irish and non-EU nationals to take part in its intercultural radio project aimed at increasing integration and intercultural understanding in our community.

As part of the initiative, a group of Irish and non-EU participants will complete a FETAC Level 4 course in Community Radio and form a production team to produce a series of 13 radio programmes for Near FM’s weekly intercultural radio show: Culture Shots. Since the start of the project, participants hailing from 5 continents have gained valuable skills in digital media. Gillian McInerney from Glasnevin enjoyed the hands-on experience of producing and presenting Culture Shots programmes. She

said, “What I really loved about this project was the opportunity it provided me, as someone with no radio experience, to get into a professional studio and learn how to make a full show for broadcast.” The FETAC course covers all aspects of station operation, and is supplemented with modules on media literacy, or understanding how media impacts our world view. Training is aimed at preparing participants to be able to confidently present, produce, research, sound engineer, edit and podcast their

Participants Tina Dio and Mariaam Bhatti work editing their programme in studio.

Participant Jim Raman prepares to interview Junyu Wang and Emmanuel NjumeSone of Cairde 28

own programmes. In addition to training, the project offers a unique chance to learn from other people about their experiences. Mariaam Bhatti, originally from South Africa and now living in Smithfield said, “I gained skills and knowledge and met a lot of interesting people from all corners of the world. For me being a migrant woman, a domestic worker and an African, I’m a member of some of the most excluded groups in Irish society, yet I had the opportunity to be on radio, something that a lot of people dream about!” Fellow presenter Martin Warde underscored the opportunity this training and production initiative provided for giving a voice to communities that are often marginalized in mainstream media. He said, “Being a member of the Irish Traveller Community, access to any media equipment or training has been restricted. I was delighted to have met such a wonderful and supportive group of people and to highlight different aspects of my community through radio.” To ensure barrier-free access, the course is free of charge. Some childcare, travel and meal costs can also be reimbursed. Anyone interested in talking part should contact Grace, the Near Media Co-op’s Intercultural Co-ordinator by Email: or Phone: 01 848 5211, before April 23rd. For more information, images or interview requests, contact: Grace Wilentz, Near Media Co-op Intercultural Coordinator, 01 848 5211 or 087 325 6444 . About the project organisers: The Near Media Co-op is a democratic, not for profit community media initiative based in Coolock, North Dublin. Part of our mission is to provide an alternative to mainstream media by offering an outlet for those underrepresented or excluded through training and access to distribution facilities. This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Department of Justice and Equality and Pobal.

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Laois Primary Healthcare Workers

Primary Health programmes are very important to all communities and a group of three women from the Traveller community have been in training for the last four years as Primary Healthcare workers for the programme in Portlaoise. The ladies got the Primary Health care programme up and running in February 2012, and Regional Reporter Tracie Joyce headed to Portlaoise to meet with both the coordinator and the Primary Health care workers involved in the proramme. Tracie met Caragh the coordinator and Nuala who is the Public Health Nurse in Portlaoise and also by the three women Bridgie O’Connor, Bridget McInerney and Kathleen Nevin who have been instrumental in making the health care programme a success to date. These ladies have seen all their hard work and long hours come to fruition and were delighted to meet with Voice of The Traveller to tell us a bit about the training that was involved in trying to get the programme up and running. The women explained that it was Julie Nevin Co-ordinator of Laois Traveller Action Group (LTAG) who came up with the plan to get a primary health care programme for Portlaoise as there was none in the area. The group decided they were all going to pull together and see what contacts they needed and what training they would have to do. They started by gathering information and used Offaly’s Primary Health care Programme as their model since it had been successful for the past ten years. The ladies had to learn a lot of skills such as computers, writing and reading skills also they needed to learn all about what the Primary Health programme entailed. The group hope they can provide an outreach service to all the Traveller communities and believe it will improve Travellers overall health. Some of the objectives for the health care programme are to increase Travellers awareness and knowledge of health matters in general, deliver outreach health promotion programmes, increase Travellers engaging with the health services, support the on-going training and development of a team of Traveller Community Health workers. The programme also aims to increase the understanding among health services of Traveller health needs. The health care programme will provide links between Travellers and Health services, provide a confidential service and will also provide health information to Traveller Families. It also gives advice on services and supports that are available to families. The women have are promoting a number of initiatives and services for good health such as assistance with clinic appointments, dental care, healthy eating and lifestyle, child health, accident prevention, cancer screening, immunization advice and links to services for substance misuse. Also included are mental health advice and referral to appropriate services. Bridgie, Bridget and Kathleen are very passionate about the programme and hope to give members of the Traveller community the advice and support they feel is needed in the area. They hope to continue the health care programme for as long as possible to make sure that people will take advantage of the services provided once they know where to go and what services are available for them. They also hope to expand their services to ensure that no one misses out on good health care advice and access to services. Regional Reporter Tracie Joyce 30

Bridget McInerney, Caragh Munn, Bridgie O’Connor and Nuala Hogan at Laois Primary Healthcare Group.

Bridgie O’Connor, Bridget McInerney, Kathleen Nevin, Primary Healthcare Workers in Portlaoise.

Laois ladies taking part in the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon last year.

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VOTM welcomes Kandeepan Somasuriyasingham to the team here in Athlone. Kandee is responsible for our Accounts and is doing a fantastic job keeping us all on track and organised! Originally from Sri Lanka, Kandee came to Ireland in 2007. He lived for a time in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo before moving to Athlone. Kandee had difficulty finding suitable employment at first because he did not have any experience working in Ireland but with the help of Bernie Mannion and all the team at Dr. Stephen’s Resource Centre in Athlone, Kandee was able to gain valuable work experience, develop some great friendships and also got a lot of help with upgrading his skills. Kandee said “The centre helped me in so many ways and not just with work. My colleagues there advised me on securing better accommodation, helped me with my language skills and communications and also advised me on ways to overcome different cultural issues which was very helpful to me”. We are delighted to welcome Kandee to our team!


Entrants must be over 16. Terms and conditions apply

Are you a parent or a friend of a young person attending a Youth Project?

Would you like to get Involved? Volunteers needed!! • Interested in helping out in your local Youth Project? • Learn new skills, meet new people, have fun • Would you like to give some of your time, skills and experience in order to help others • All volunteers receive training and support It couldn’t be easier! Contact Liz Loftus on 087 9388331 or Involve at 090 649 8017 or send an e-mail to: We look forward to hearing from you!! Check out For details of where to find your local project


e i n n A r Dea

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 Troubled Teen Dear Annie d secondary My Daughter starte and began r be em school in Sept a new group, hanging out with much older some of which are d giving rte than her. She’s sta me until ho e m co cheek, doesn’t s to have the all hours and need me or my last word any time r on it. She he husband confront l every oo sch m comes back fro d has an e ok sm of ing day smell m oo dr be r taken to locking he e th s ve lea e door anytime sh smoke so house. Neither of us she picked ere wh ow kn we don’t ud tit e is up the habit, her at een me and tw be causing friction thinks i’m my husband as he r. How can he on ft so o being to teen? Mary we sort our troubled


Traveller TV Show

Dear Annie ted a couple of I have been contac asking if I’d go ns times by TV statio Travellers. I’d t ou ab s on their show is but my family really like to do th l ainst the idea. I fee are completely ag tes, ida nd ca al ide be my family would ion, never been we stayed in educat law and are well in trouble with the r area. I’d love my respected within ou this. I wouldn’t of rt family to be a pa elf but they feel like to go on by mys e en exploited by on Travellers have be . nd gla En in d de or particular show rec d an mily to underst How do I get my fa e m so in rception we could change pe prepare if we do we n ca w ho way and fer of on? Jane decide to take the

Dear Jane want to change I understand your ion of the Traveller the typical percept aveller at Voice of the Tr community; here doing the same pride ourselves in we y ar M ar De d contact from unds to me to be thing. We have ha Your daughter so rs of the traveller , acting out and numerous membe ch a typical teenager ting that we deta before her time. community reques h ug ho alt , trying to grow up ow sh UK g start speakin lves from the to rse is ou n tio op en od be go s A ow that ha s a grown up, it’s not the only sh gh to her as if she wa ve received very hi ha r/ to s he ot me m aired it seem at th ow sh e take her out for so th on ip. Depending er lunch and rsh ov g we in vie nd bo y er all ht daug in, it could be a re up. Ask her to you are involved t she may just open e. “The Truth abou e nc ar ds; what positive experie es tim y an talk about her frien m en aired terests, does Travellers” has be pact their names and in had a positive im ly 13 on s At ? ha d ds an en fri w no old r he ll iss she m unity as we as e Traveller comm l and try to go th be re on to l have ra tu na s it’ unity. The key is to , at that age they the settled comm d an e nc va against the grain ad iting in one understands all questions in wr any re fo be feel as though no ily m fa ur those with yo b to prove jo w ur vie yo re s it’ d kin an them ions not loo g you begin to rding is made. Stat co en re wh st Ju ll . do u yo w of Travellers wi eir rebelling they for the typical vie your of y an understand why th g sin addres , it’s why they call have no problem only n ca ey find a new reason th – r be em s but it doesn’t concerns and rem be it the terrible teen u actually say so it yo g in at ok wh t sm as is e dc sh oa br fine! be ll wi it go on forever. If ticed and trying to fit in, prepared and prac may be her way of e health risks that speak to her of th ing. Contact her comes with smok ey may be in a th School principal, class discussion position to have a might inspire Send your problems to Dear Annie, Voice of the Traveller, on smoking which your daughter as her friends as well Involve, Unit 1, Monksland Retail Park, Athlone, Co. Roscommon . nd ts out of ha to quit before it ge or email them to

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Denise Delaney: A Leading Light in The Donegal Community

The initiative and leadership shown by a Traveller woman on the Donegal housing estate where she lives has resulted in numerous quality-of-life improvements to the estate and has earned her high praise in the local community. Denise Delaney, 32, is chairperson of the Residents’ Association at the Earlsfort (Dún na nIarlaí) Council housing estate in Buncrana, the largest town on the Inishowen peninsula. Two years ago Denise was instrumental in establishing the Association and since then she has worked tirelessly and creatively with other residents to make the 40-house estate an exceptional place to live. “Denise is making a fabulous contribution in that community up there,” said Cllr. Rena Donaghey, a founding member of the Buncrana Tidy Towns Committee who attended a festive family fun day at the Earlsfort estate last summer. “She is working really, really hard, she is very determined and her heart is in the right place. She is one of the leading lights in that community, she really is.” A drive through the Earlsfort estate immediately reveals the results of the good work that Denise and other members of the Residents’ Association have done there. The entrance is marked by a beautiful engraved stone sign that Denise designed to look like a ship, in keeping with the Flight of the Earls theme. The litter free green lawns are dotted with four benches on which parents can relax and chat as older children kick balls between goal posts at the centre of the estate and younger ones play happily in two sandboxes. Tree plantations, improved traffic calming measures and painting of common fences are additional projects by the Association that have made the estate a delightful place to spend time in. “I feel if you live in a place where you don’t like what you see, you don’t feel good,” Denise, a married mother of three young children, said of her motivation for playing an active role on the estate. “I grew up in a horrible estate; it didn’t look nice or feel nice. Here you look out, kids are always playing together and it’s a nice environment. My kids are playing with all their friends, who don’t judge them. I don’t hide who I am; everyone knows who I am and what I am. It’s nice to be appreciated for who I am instead of pretending to be someone else. I have great support here, we make a good team. I get support from them and they get support from me.” An energetic and inspired community organiser, Denise hosts regular well-attended meetings of the Residents’ Association in her kitchen and set up an Earlsfort Facebook page that is used to keep residents informed and to get their opinions on matters concerning the estate. A monthly door-to-door collection that Residents’ Association members make of donations for improvements on the estate provides an additional opportunity to receive feedback and suggestions from every resident. Such commitment and effort on the Earlsfort estate has made a strong impression on Town Engineer Donal Walker, who has assisted with a number of projects there. “If there’s a group willing to put work into maintaining their estate, we’ll try and help them along,”

Denise pictured with the beautiful engraved stone sign that she designed for the entrance to the Earlsfort estate.

Donal said. “There are other very good people on that Residents’ Association, but a big reason we’re doing what we’re doing there is Denise. She’s a great girl who is very good at rallying her neighbours and has a good deal of respect in the community. Sometimes you’ll find Residents’ Associations will slate the Council about why we haven’t done this or that. When Denise comes on the phone, if there’s something I haven’t done that I promised to do, she’ll go around it in a nice way: ‘I know you’re going to do that, Donal, I know you just haven’t had time.’ She’ll give me a wee dig but in a very nice and subtle manner! That’s the nature of her. If all our tenants were like that, we would have no problems.” Denise grew up in Mayo and moved to Buncrana from Letterkenny five years ago. She attributes the confidence that is now such a striking feature of her personality to the encouragement she received while still living in Letterkenny and attending a two-year Community Health Worker programme at Donegal Travellers Project. “I couldn’t praise DTP enough,” Denise said. “A lot of Travellers leave school very young, but DTP are bringing people back in and showing them they’re worth something. I used to be terribly shy and afraid to speak around councillors and other official people. Now I’m not afraid of speaking to anyone! Working in groups at the DTP gave me the confidence; now I believe in myself and I believe that I’m capable. It’s lovely to show people here that I’m a Traveller, don’t be afraid of me, come talk to me. We all get along really, really well. Neighbours are always in and out of my house and the kids are really great here, as well.” 37

t u o b A Out &

phs! If you have a ra og ot ph ’s er ad re ion of our post ed to print a select ht lig de is send it in to us by r le se el ea av pl Tr e e in th az of ag e ic m Vo to see in the at you would like th e m ho at ph ra photog ie traveller@involve. he ft eo ic vo l ai em or

t Awards: Youth Achievemen a rd Ga e th at ed Pictur , Theresa Moriarity (KDYS) hn Jo y, ph ur M y Garda Cath inners), Geraldine Quilligan (Joint W e lo Ch d an ill Ne patrick. O’ d Garda Trish Fitz O’Meara (KDYS) an ra Coffey ck Bryan and Sand lo er Sh ie ar M n An e riding. on a day out hors

Donegal Travellers


an in Ennis, Co. Cl

and Jimmy Keen Martin McDonagh 38


Parade participant

An information meeting was held in Ennis recently on the Closure of St. Joseph’s Training Center and the services available to Travellers after the closure. Some of the groups in attendance were Clare Adult Education Centre, Clare Youth Services and the Special Initiative for Travellers Officer. An Gardai along with CDP members in Ennis also attended. Pictured (Right) were: Gerry Griffin, Ger Dollard and David McCarthy at Traveller Strategy Information Day in Ennis.

Stephen and Mar

We’re All Differen t

y Frances Joyce.

But We’re All The Same Different countrie s, Different voices , Different cultures, Different choices, Different talents, Different language s, Different skin, We all eat different sandwiches, We both have skin , We both have ha ir, together we make a great pair. We both need food , We both need ai r, these are the thin gs we share. So like all trees, Some big, Some sm all, Don’t compare because each of us is very rare. by Kathleen Mon gan Age 11, Tuam Co. Galway

Salthill Girls on a night out: Megan Becky Delaney, M O’Brien, ary Delaney, Ann O’Gorman, Louise Delaney, Mary De laney, Nan Delane y, Barbara Delane Helen Delaney, Cr y, ystal Delaney and Amanda Delaney.

Loughrea Youth Pr oject participants enjoying the Londis compe tition Best looking Pancake. 39

Voice of the Traveller Magazine May 2012  

Issue 84