Action is being sought to help avert a serious crisis in the town of Rathkeale, County Limerick.
Rathkeale in County Limerick is a town of 1,800 people, with Travellers making up over 40% of the population. Resident Maurice Foster says that the settled population and the Traveller community leave harmoniously for most of the year. At Christmas things become unmanageable when a massive influx of Travellers from Britain and Europe descend on the town. Many are returning local Travellers but others have no connection to the area but are attracted to Rathkeale by the month long party atmosphere.
You’re looking at a social time bomb here.
Sean Hennessy says the people of the town do not mind if the authorities want Rathkeale to become a hub for Travellers but
They also must look at the situation that has been created in Rathkeale and spend money accordingly.
Both the Traveller and the settled communities are in agreement that they do not want the government to spend £1.5 million on the construction of a new 10 acre halting site on the outskirts of the city.
Mary Flynn is worried,
It’s only our own community of people that should be in Rathkeale at the moment and it’s given enough for the people of the town to deal with them, you know what I mean.
Catriona Quilligan agrees
I would be worried if other strange travellers came here.
Local people are keenly aware of violent attacks that have been made on travellers in Glenamaddy in County Galway. Councillor John Griffin fears violence spreading to Rathkeale. The town is currently peaceful and he believes it is the right time for the local authority and the government to act swiftly and apply all of their energies and resources to the area immediately,
Or Glenamaddy will have been a sideshow.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 October 1993. The reporter is Jim Fahy.