Why it’s good to talk

Irish Daily Mail - - News -

WHEN most who live far from fam­ily homes re­turn for Christ­mas, all that usu­ally is re­quired is that their loved ones see it as a time of joy, and make the beds in the old rooms, put the dec­o­ra­tions up, and stock the fridge.

Things are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent in Rathkeale, Co. Lim­er­ick. There, an armed Garda unit will be de­ployed. Spe­cial courts will sit if needed. A new CCTV sys­tem will be in place, and a triage clinic set up to deal with in­juries. The mea­sures have been taken be­cause of the an­nual re­turn of many fam­i­lies from the Trav­eller com­mu­nity to the area. This is not nec­es­sary when it comes to oth­ers, and while even dis­cussing the topic is un­palat­able to many, it is a con­ver­sa­tion we must have.

The se­cu­rity mea­sures are not born of mal­ice or prej­u­dice, but of ex­pe­ri­ence. In­deed, most would see them as ad­mirable prepa­ra­tion based on past events.

Un­for­tu­nately, even at­tempt­ing to have the de­bate is so in­stantly, er­ro­neously and lazily dis­missed as racism, it makes gen­uine di­a­logue be­tween the set­tled and Trav­eller com­mu­ni­ties more dif­fi­cult.

All sides need to ac­cept there are chal­lenges to be ad­dressed and dif­fi­cul­ties in how to deal with them. Talk­ing about the is­sues in­volved and how to mit­i­gate the po­ten­tial for trou­ble is a great deal more ma­ture than name-call­ing that gets us nowhere.

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