Signs of a feud between Traveller families gearing up in Tralee again this summer led yesterday to a public appeal from Pavee Point for families involved to “take a step back”.
After street incidents in Kerry’s county town in 2009, hundreds of thousands of euro had been spent on measures to pacify the feuding parties, including an equestrian project involving the provision of stables and training.
Independent Tralee town councillor Sam Locke was part of an interagency group which assisted a truce.
He claimed yesterday the support measures had failed.
“It’s time the interagency group sat around the table together to see where they went wrong — because they certainly went wrong somewhere,” Mr Locke said.
Three people were charged this week after an incident during a funeral in the town, a week ago.
Other reported signs of rising tension within the Travelling community included a bare knuckle dust-up on the Dingle road some weeks ago.
In 2009, the armed Garda regional emergency response unit was deployed three times on the streets of Tralee following open fighting including at the funeral of a settled Traveller
The reported policing bill for that summer was in excess of €140,000, while legal aid services were availed of by 32 people before the courts on various charges.
Mr Locke criticised some state-funded Traveller agencies, such as the Irish Traveller Movement, for apparently refusing to send mediators to Tralee after funding had been cut. He said the agencies were part of the package of agreements in 2009. With €20,000 spent on mediation conflict resolution services, he said the agencies had a responsibility to continue.
“The threat of this taking place again is outrageous.”
Martin Collins, of the Pavee Point Traveller Centre for human rights, appealed on Radio Kerry yesterday for the minority of Travellers involved to “refrain from violence and take a step back”.
He said Pavee Point had no trained mediator because of cutbacks. “There’s a need for resources for funding to be made available to Traveller organisations,” he said.
However, saying it was not the only factor, he encouraged those involved in a recent flare up to come to their senses and find a peaceful solution.
A similar appeal was made by the Kerry Traveller Project last week after the funeral fight.
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