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Peter Casey Visits Traveller Housing Estate In Thurles

Independent Presidential candidate, Mr Peter Casey, yesterday visited a new, yet controversial, 1.8 million ‘state of the art’ housing estate here in Thurles. The estate, built for the benefit of the Tipperary Traveller community here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, continues to remain vacant.  His visit, which saw a large Garda presence in the area, came just days after Mr Casey made, what some would claim, controversial comments about the Traveller community.

A number of Traveller families are refusing to move into these homes at this €1.8m Cabragh Bridge development, because of a dispute with Tipperary County Council, regarding the availability of stables and land for horses.

Mr Casey had described this Traveller action as “blackmail”, and on a recent Podcast, claimed the State’s recognition of the Traveller community as being an ethnic minority was “a load of nonsense” – “these people that are camping on someone else’s land”“They are not paying their fair share of taxes in society”.

Mr Casey and his lady wife, Helen, on arriving at Cabragh Bridge, stood to view the housing development, with Mr Casey uttering quietly under his breath, the words “Solar panels”, while others thought similarly but remained silent.

Mr Casey addressed the media, as he stood outside the now barricaded gates of this vacant housing development, but made no attempt to meet any Traveller family in temporary accommodation across the road from the houses, claiming he did not wish to “invade upon their privacy.”

RTE TV’s midland correspondent, Mr Ciaran Mullooly, was on hand to interview Mr Casey regarding his comments on the formal recognition of Travellers, suggesting same were perhaps some what racist in content towards this Traveller assembly, who had been identified as a distinct ethnic group within the Irish State by former Fine Gael Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny.

Mr Casey, who had been proposed or seconded by four county councils including Tipperary Co. Council, was quick to explain his remarks “My position is that the Irish Proclamation [1] states that we should cherish all the children equally. It doesn’t say we should cherish some children more equal than others. Once President, I wouldn’t be able to say anything, but now that I can, I think that it just wrong, downright wrong.”

[1] Mr Casey was correctly referring to an extract taken from the Irish Proclamation of Independence, [Poblacht Na H Eireann The Provisional Government Of The Irish Republic To The People Of Ireland], which states:-
“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past”.

When asked what he hoped to achieve by his recent remarks, he stated that he wished to “bring attention to this situation. People need to stand up and say something is wrong, as people tonight sleep rough on the streets of Dublin”.

When it was suggested to him that there was a legal process currently under way with regards to Irish homelessness, he replied that “it seemed to be taking rather a long time”.

A group of protesters, representing the Traveller community, arrived late outside the Cabragh Bridge development yesterday, as Mr Casey was leaving, however despite being only a few metres away they did not attempt to communicate with Mr Casey.

In a written statement, released by and on behalf of Traveller families to all media personnel present, they now deny demanding stables or “paddocks” from the council; stating on the other hand that they had agreed to move to the houses if “grazing land” was provided for their horses.

In this statement, the Traveller community declare that “as proud Traveller families living peaceably at Cabragh Bridge, Thurles,  for four generations, we want to express our horror and disbelief on the hateful media campaign being waged against us and, it seems, against every Traveller family in Ireland”.

With the present incumbent President Mr Michael D Higgins having the support of Fine Gael, it came as no surprise that the Fine Gael Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar, yesterday stated that Mr Casey’s remarks were “very divisive and largely designed to get attention for him and his campaign”.

Since his visit to Thurles, Mr Casey has decided to take the weekend off from his campaigning in order to ponder carefully, on whether he should continue in this presidential election race. However it was obvious from yesterday that Mr Casey has now garnered strong support, particularly from those dwelling in remote rural Tipperary, latter who have been the target of continued criminal activity being carried out by roaming gangs. Could this be another case of, to use the words of Thomas Davis, (Editor of The Nation newspaper in the 1840s), “Where Tipperary Leads, Ireland Follows”.

President Higgins, is also being supported by Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats and the Green Party. Election pamphlets being paid for by Fine Gael are using pictures of their elected TD’s and Senators, rather than pictures of the President, with claims that President Higgins has banned political parties who are backing his re-election, from using his image on any literature or posters published.

Sinn Féin’s Presidential candidate, Ms Liadh Ní Riada, is also for some reason distancing herself from her party support, by conveniently leaving Sinn Féin off all her election posters

Fine Gael Minister Mrs Regina Doherty has stated that Fine Gael plan to spend between €50,000 and €100,000 in assisting the incumbent President, while the Labour Party are spending up to around €70,000.

It should be noted that incumbent President, Mr Michael D Higgins, visited Thurles only once during his 7 years as President (despite numerous invitations), visiting Cabragh Wetlands, just some 500 metres from this same Tipperary Traveller housing development.

Meanwhile do note that those representing Fine Gael who are requesting us to provide them with substantial salaries; expenses, and a State pension, into the future have indicated that they are visiting Thurles tomorrow, (anxious no doubt to avoid tomorrows embarrassing ‘Rural Development Neglect protest’ in Tipperary Town), to undertake some “reconnaissance” and perhaps generate support. Five words if you meet them “Thurles Ring Road – What Date”.

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1 comment to Peter Casey Visits Traveller Housing Estate In Thurles

  • Joan

    Yes, where is the Ring Road? refurbishing Liberty Square is a waste of taxpayers money when lorries travelling to or from the Midlands have to traverse Liberty Square, creating deadlock. Surely a no-brainer.

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