‘Let trav­ellers be a part of com­mu­nity’

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY LIAM THORP liam.thorp@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @Visiter

ATRAVELLERS char­ity boss has said groups who ap­ply for land want to be part of the com­mu­nity and should be given a chance.

Win Lawlor, deputy di­rec­tor of Ir­ish Com­mu­nity Care Mersey­side (ICCM), spoke out in de­fence of trav­ellers af­ter a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to set up a per­ma­nent site near Maghull in Sefton re­ceived thou­sands of ob­jec­tions.

Ms Lawlor acts as the “strate­gic busi­ness lead” for Ir­ish trav­ellers and Gyp­sies for ICC, a char­ity which responds to the needs of Ir­ish and Ir­ish trav­eller com­mu­ni­ties.

She urged peo­ple not to make “knee-jerk re­ac­tions” against trav­ellers, based on fear and what they have seen in the me­dia.

Ms Lawlor said: “For Gypsy trav­ellers it’s ac­tu­ally very brave to put in a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion. They know it is go­ing to in­cite a lot of racial ha­tred, fear and back­lash, but they make the ap­pli­ca­tion any­way.

“This is their way of say­ing ‘we want to live our way in a way that is cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate for us, but be a part of this com­mu­nity’, and then they get slapped in the face for it.” She added that Ro­many Gypsy trav­ellers were an eth­nic group of peo­ple who should be treated with equal­ity as any other mi­nor­ity group would.

Ms Lawlor said: “If you have one bad ex­pe­ri­ence with a trav­eller it’s not fair to lump them all to­gether and it’s not le­gal ei­ther. They are an eth­nic mi­nor­ity group, and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have to look at the liv­ing needs for all.

“If you want to buy a house, no one tells you you are not fit to live there. You get the house be­fore you even meet your neigh­bours.

“But this is what trav­ellers have to go through be­cause they want to live in a way that is cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate for them. Peo­ple should give them a chance.”

Her com­ments came af­ter a pe­ti­tion against a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to set up a per­ma­nent site for trav­ellers near Maghull gath­ered more than 2,000 ob­jec­tions.

The ap­pli­ca­tion is to con­vert land south of Spurri­ers Lane in Melling from a pony pad­dock into six pitches, in­clu­sive of six static car­a­vans, six tour­ing car­a­vans and six amenity blocks.

It has sparked a heated de­bate on­line, with res­i­dents say­ing it would “down­grade” the char­ac­ter of the “peace­ful” vil­lage neigh­bour­hood.

How­ever, not all res­i­dents are against the pro­pos­als, with some class­ing op­po­si­tion to the plans as a form of “hate crime”.

A de­sign and ac­cess plan­ning doc­u­ment says the fam­i­lies are all “Ro­many Gypsy trav­ellers by birth, cul­ture and de­cent, hav­ing been brought up in the tra­di­tional way of life and sat­isfy the def­i­ni­tion of a Gypsy and trav­eller”.

It says they ap­plied for per­ma­nent plan­ning per­mis­sion be­cause a num­ber of the fam­ily mem­bers were liv­ing with ill­health and chil­dren needed ac­cess to reg­u­lar school­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.