Local authority attempts to construct a Traveller halting site in Rahoon, County Galway are met with resistance and increasing reports of violence towards the Travelling communty.
Travellers in Galway live in close proximity to settled people, however tensions are running high in the County. Work on County Galway's first serviced traveller camp at Rahoon was disrupted when members of the Rahoon Residents' Association picketed the site.
The residents are very determined and the situation is volatile and threatening to erupt in violence. There have already been incidents of attacks on travellers and even talk of a shot fired.
Me wife and me daughter told me to run, they were going to kill me.
Prejudice and deep hostility against travellers exists in Galway,
As far as I can see the only hope of ever doing away with the tinkers, would be to take the child from the parents.
Despite Rahoon residents protesting against the location of the camp site in their area, Councillor Michael Smith insists the proposed halting site is in the right place. While he thinks the fear of travellers in some cases is unfounded, he concludes the local agitation towards travellers is,
Perhaps because they are such a nuisance and they seem to be such a nuisance.
He believes allaying the fears of the people of Rahoon will be difficult, but could be achieved by dialogue between the concerned parties.
Violence will not solve the problem at all, the only way we will solve the problem is by sitting down and discussing it and see can we find a reasonable solution to the whole problem.
A ‘Newsbeat’ report broadcast on 12 September 1968. The reporter is Cathal O’Shannon.
The track accompanying this clip is ‘Freeborn Man of the Travelling People’ a folk ballad written by Ewan MacColl and performed by The Johnstons.