A group of five traveller women from Coolock in Dublin, seeing the need for a laundry service in their community, have set up Cara Park Laundry.
The laundry is open six days a week. Each woman works a day and the sixth day is staffed on rotation. The service is used by both settled and travelling communities and the women are now hoping to set up a contract laundry service with local businesses.
Kathleen McDonagh of Cara of Park Laundry Service did not find it difficult to get the settled community to use the laundry and says
It might help us break the barriers between us and the settled people because we are getting great support from them.
It is not a traditional role for traveller women to be involved in business and Kathleen thinks they are the first from her community to set up a laundry for themselves.
The idea grew from a women’s group of the Dublin Travellers Education and Development Group. The need for a laundry was identified and the women took a course to work on their business skills. The start up capital came from sponsorship and the women now have a viable co-operative business.
Minister for Education Mary O'Rourke thinks the laundry is a great idea as the women are making decisions about their own lives. Their business also brings the travelling community and settled community together and yet the travelling community can still preserve their own ethos.
An RTÉ News report by Jeri Ward broadcast on 16 November 1990.