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BS: Irish Travellers on the move

Jim Carroll 23 Jan 16 - 06:32 AM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Jan 16 - 07:21 AM
Jack Campin 23 Jan 16 - 07:36 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 16 - 08:11 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jan 16 - 10:09 AM
Rapparee 23 Jan 16 - 01:06 PM
Rapparee 23 Jan 16 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,# 23 Jan 16 - 05:32 PM
akenaton 23 Jan 16 - 05:36 PM
Gutcher 24 Jan 16 - 02:21 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jan 16 - 05:22 AM
akenaton 24 Jan 16 - 05:39 AM
Kampervan 24 Jan 16 - 06:03 AM
GUEST 24 Jan 16 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,# 24 Jan 16 - 08:57 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Jan 16 - 08:59 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jan 16 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,# 24 Jan 16 - 11:02 AM
akenaton 24 Jan 16 - 03:21 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Jan 16 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Tyler Alderson 24 Jan 16 - 10:11 PM
akenaton 25 Jan 16 - 04:22 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Jan 16 - 04:41 AM
GUEST 25 Jan 16 - 04:45 AM
GUEST 25 Jan 16 - 04:49 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jan 16 - 05:31 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jan 16 - 05:54 AM
akenaton 25 Jan 16 - 06:02 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jan 16 - 07:42 AM
akenaton 25 Jan 16 - 08:53 AM
akenaton 25 Jan 16 - 09:03 AM
GUEST 25 Jan 16 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Tyler Alderson 25 Jan 16 - 04:34 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Jan 16 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Tyler Alderson 25 Jan 16 - 06:11 PM
akenaton 25 Jan 16 - 06:14 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 16 - 06:49 PM
Greg F. 25 Jan 16 - 07:43 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 16 - 07:47 PM
Steve Shaw 25 Jan 16 - 07:57 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jan 16 - 08:43 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 16 - 10:40 PM
GUEST 26 Jan 16 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,Musket 26 Jan 16 - 03:26 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jan 16 - 04:28 AM
GUEST 26 Jan 16 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,HiLo 26 Jan 16 - 05:34 AM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 16 - 07:27 AM
akenaton 26 Jan 16 - 07:46 AM
Steve Shaw 26 Jan 16 - 07:49 AM

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Subject: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 06:32 AM

23 Traveller families have been evicted from an 'unofficial' site in Dundalk, County Louth this week – First reports said the eviction was carried out with the assistance of armed police, but there has been no confirmation of this.
The site was originally an official halting site, but was closed by the Council 8 years ago – the water and sewage facilities were ripped out and the electricity disconnected – no alternative accommodation was offered and the site has remained derelict ever since
The Travellers re-occupied the site when they had nowhere else to go.
They walked out of e meeting with the council on Thursday when council officials suggested that the men could move into a hostel in Drogheda and the women to a shelter in Dundalk – it was suggested that foster homes should be found for the children .
They are now scattered over a number of unofficial stopping places without facilities and have been offered no alternative. - No social or affordable housing has been built by the Council though there is funding available for Traveller accommodation.
The TFamiles are on the car park of an industrial unit, without electricity, water or
The council offices remained closed all day yesterday to avoid confrontation with those evicted.
A similar situation, with a smaller number of travellers (including 15 children) has been postponed for the time being on the other side of the country, in Galway.
Last month, following a horrific fire which caused the deaths of ten people, including 5 children, at Carrickmines, in County Dublin – plans to offer the survivors a temporary site were ababndoned when the residents of nearby Rathmines protested.
The families are now stopping in a car park without sanitation, water or electricity.
The attitude towards Travellers has always been bad, but this now verges on ethnic cleansing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 07:21 AM

They walked out of e meeting with the council on Thursday when council officials suggested that the men could move into a hostel in Drogheda and the women to a shelter in Dundalk – it was suggested that foster homes should be found for the children .

break up families, just like to old workhouse days

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 07:36 AM

Meanwhile in Scotland:

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/councillors-should-stand-up-to-travellers-1.921065

That is surely incitement to hate crime but I can't find the right place on Police Scotland's site to report it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 08:11 AM

Both are just appalling stories. The Scottish one may just be the opinion of one deranged and disaffected letter writer but Jim's story of organised and co-ordinated civic and police action is outrageous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 10:09 AM

"organised and co-ordinated civic and police action is outrageous"
Outrageous maybe Vic, but hardly unusual around here.
Since we moved to this town 18 years ago, it has been the practice of the police whenever Travellers are in the area to visit all the bars and instruct them to close until they have gone away.
They tell the publicans that they will not respond to calls for assistance should any trouble break out
We've gone into town on numerous occasions only to find all pubs locked - entry by vetting only
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 01:06 PM

Yup.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 05:10 PM

Yup again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,#
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 05:32 PM

Has Amnesty International been informed does anyone know?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 23 Jan 16 - 05:36 PM

As I'm sure Jim would agree Ewan's wonderful song was a lament for the passing of a way of life and a culture. A culture that I have some memory of....."They'll soon have machines....and the travellin' queens and their menfolk will need tae be shiftin".

I remember the travelling queens in Bute and the small farms of Mid Argyll....the tattie howkin' the shawin' o' neeps.....all gone just as MacColl prophesied.

Sorrowfully they are a sector of society which has just run out of road.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Gutcher
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 02:21 AM

The tattie howkin, neep shawin, hay and corn harvest, all jobs where the travellers and the unemployed could garner a few bob, have indeed all gone, farms are now so mechanised that some farmers cannot even employ their own family members.
My last sighting of a travelling family with a horse drawen rig was in a Fife village, where, their cuddie must have died, the father was yoked between the trams and the rest of the family were all pushing behind up a lang stey brae.
When visiting our son in County Leitrim a few years back, on the day of a traveller funeral all the pubs remained closed for the full day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 05:22 AM

"Has Amnesty International been informed does anyone know?"
There is talk about involving the European Courts, but whether the hand-to-mouth Traveller organisations can manage it is another matter - there isn't the groundswell of support here that there used to be in Britain - students, sympathetic solicitors, Councillors - dislike of the Travellers here is fairly widespread.
A few years ago a Traveller was 'executed' by a farmer who suspected him of intending to burgle his property.
The farmer shot the man, beat him with a stick while he lay on the ground, went in and reloaded, came out and administered the coupe-de-grace - shot him dead.
The farmer never denied it, fully expected to be sent to prison - the jury thought it was a reasonable thing to do and acquitted him.
It really doesn't get plainer than that.
"Sorrowfully they are a sector of society which has just run out of road."
That is one of the arguments used to excuse what if happening here - it is also rife in Britain.
They haven't "run out of road" - the road deliberately.
It really does't help to reminisce about the "old ways" and the horse-drawn caravans - it's not like that anymore - some of these romances are a fantasy anyway - George Borrow's pipe-dream.
The irony of all this is that millions are being spent to provide a few Travellers housing (that most of them don't want anyway) while it would be far more economical to provide reasonably equipped halting sites where they can stay or go - the ones we visited in Britain, like the one in Winterbourne, outside Bristol, or the huge one outside Swindon, worked perfectly and the Travellers responded well to it.
The Traveller dedicated housing units here are little more than walled, cramped, expensive to build concrete ghettos shielded from the public gaze.
The spite shown towards Travellers is typified by the action of Louth Council in driving the families off, destroying the facilities and leaving the site empty for as long as they did - not as if the land was needed - pretty much the same as the scrap yard that became The Dale Farm site.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 05:39 AM

The point is Jim, that they have become a sector of society without a purpose. I agree that the "travellers" of today have little relationship to the culture which used to exist.

As amongst any hopeless and purposeless community, problems arise, the same problems which affect many sectors of society.
The person who was shot, could just as easily have been a drug addict looking for money to service his habit.....I don't think he would have been targeted simply because he was a "traveller".
Round here, alcohol and drug addiction are very common amongst the "travellers"....they are considered by the vast majority of the population as anti social, perhaps it is time for the community to conform to societal norms regarding their way of life.

In saying that, I am saddened by the change in farming practices pointed out by Gutcher.....it has made the West of Scotland a poorer place in so many ways.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Kampervan
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 06:03 AM

The trouble is that these guys are 'different', they don't fit into a nice pigeon-hole and so the authorities don't like them. They're more difficult to control.

I really can't see what's wrong with establishing sites for travellers to stop at, AS THE LAW DEMANDS as I understand it.

This is going to be a really sad world when we finally lose all of those who are different from the norm.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:30 AM

"The point is Jim, that they have become a sector of society without a purpose. "
Have no idea what that means - how can any sector of society have no purpose -
They are among the most resourceful and adaptable people I have ever come across
One source of living disappears, they find another
Among them are skilled tradesmen, and were they aren't, they learn when they are allowed to.
Regular employment is virtually impossible if they haven't a permanent address, as is education.
What people tend to forget is that most Travellers don't travel - they never did to any great extent.
WE mapped out the route of one of our most traditional Travellers, used in the 19406/50s in Kerry and West Cork - a 70 mile circuit.
The family travelled in the Spring, Summer and Autumn and rented a house in the winter - that was when the kids got their small education.
City dwelling Travellers adapted to the changes when they managed to get onto sites, but they have become less and less since the John Major government repealed the law making it compulsory for Councils to provide so many sites in each area.
WE saw Travellers move through three stages of employment during the time we worked with them; collecting scrap metal, tarmacking and then laying fancy tiled drives - they were also skilled carpenters, some retained the skills of metalwork, in London, some still sold sold horses at Southall weekly horse afir (anything from donkeys to thoroughbreds).
THey worked on the roads, sold bric-a-brac in the street markets (we even knew a man who sold paintings at Southerby's), roofing, casual farm work
WE did a programme on Kerry Traveller, Mikeen McCarthy for Irish radio - he took ten minutes to list and describe all the jobs he had done in his lifetime
The people we knew were the most versatile people I've ever come across.
Rural Travellers here are the same, given the chance but as there are a minuscule number of places for them to stop, that is hardly an option now.
The day we talk about "societies without a purpose" is the day we think about building the extermination cams (as was seriously suggested by a politician on the radio ballad, The Travelling people) - who knows - that may provide yet another source of employment for some Travellers!!
Jim Carroll
Now for something completely different - need help - hit the wrong button on my PC and the font has reduced itself to an unreadable size - how do I restore it (PM will do)
Am having to access this forum on a lap-top - hate it, hate it, hate it
Many thanks


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,#
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:57 AM

First, Jim. Thank you for the explanation.

*******************************************

Second, GUEST, Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:30 AM

Shut it down and restart the damned thing. I have your machine's twin, if not in manufacture at least in temperament.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:59 AM

Jim, Control plus "+" (shift key not needed)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 09:16 AM

Many thanks for the advice Guest# and Acme - tried shutting it down - didn't work.
Control "+" worked like a charm on this - will return to Big Bertha later.
"You're blood's worth bottling" (or "you're handier than a small pot") as they say in Dublin.
Never get used to the readiness to help on this forum, thanks again
Jim Caroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,#
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 11:02 AM

Thanks, Acme. I'll try that too.

Jim, I don'tknow whether you're aware of a 'movement' named Freeman on the Land. When you have a spare ten minutes there is a good overview of it at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemen_on_the_land


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 03:21 PM

Jim, things may be different in Ireland, but here everybody knows the arse has fallen out of the scrap business.....none of the travellers round here are tradesmen....they take on some roofing work which I nine times out of ten, have to replace ....at half the price.
Most of it is extremely shoddy and executed with no knowledge of building practice.

I repeat, they no longer have a place in society where they can lead a nomadic existence AND provide for the welfare of their families and themselves.....

I notice that you did not address the high levels of alcoholism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 05:45 PM

"Jim, things may be different in Ireland, but here everybody knows the arse has fallen out of the scrap business"
The bottom fell out of the scrap business in the 80s Ake - keep up.
"none of the travellers round here are tradesmen"
How do you know - bad experience - we've had some god--awful plumbers working for us - none of them Travellers.
Sorry Ake - we're getting a bit of stereotyping here - the tradesmen I described above were all in London.
"I repeat, they no longer have a place in society where they can lead a nomadic existence AND provide for the welfare of their families and themselves..."
More stereotyping here - Travellers, gicven the opportunity, are quite capable of providing for their families themselves
Have you ever tried to bring up a family on the pittance given out on welfare.
You remind me of all thsoe people interviewed at the end of The Travelling people - "why can't they live like us" - _they don't want to live like us" - they're not real Travellers - real travellers live in horse draw caravans with a dark-haired bint dancing around an open fire banging a tambourine".
You want to meet real Travellers - go and spend some proper time with them.
Sorry - been here a thousand times before, usually with Conservatives.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,Tyler Alderson
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 10:11 PM

I have had some experience with Travellers, having done my MA dissertation as few years back on them and their ballad singing. I have to say, Akenaton has a point, although perhaps Jim is right to question some of his wording.

The fact of the matter is, there was a time when you needed a good few hands at certain points in the farming schedule, but not at others. Travellers would work their routes such that they'd be in certain places in certain times, so you could count on people being there for the harvest without needing to hire them for the whole year. Many I talked to pointed out that everyone knew them and knew they were coming, and would have jobs for them to do once they got there.

Now, the mechanization of farming means that there are very few of these jobs left. Couple that with the rise of plastic making tinwork generally obsolete, the rise of machines making horses and donkeys generally obsolete, and the rise of online buying making traveling salespeople generally obsolete, and you've cut out most of the work Travellers used to do.

I've had many Travellers themselves tell me what I think akenaton is trying to say, that their traditional lifestyle and occupations are gone. And I do think that he's correct when he says that this has thrown their community into an existential crisis, where many do wonder what their "purpose" is. Much like in any marginalized community, there's a debate over how much to "assimilate" into the general population and how much to maintain their own social and cultural identity. Many more are getting leaving certs and even going to college now than ever before. Some try desperately to "pass" as settled by masking their Traveller heritage. Others proudly assert their heritage.

I talked to a young man whose father is a tinsmith. His father has ten children, and only he, the youngest, has taken any interest in tinsmithing (and even then he doesn't do much of it). I asked him why, and he told me that while they all know it's part of their heritage and culture, there's absolutely no money in it. Why take all that time to learn something when it won't feed your kids, especially if you have to work as hard as they do to find any kind of job? He's taken it on as a cultural endeavor, but it's not a "useful" trade anymore outside of that.

Jim, I too know many Travellers who are capable of supporting themselves and their children. But I think akenaton's point is that their itinerant lifestyle is not conducive to this, and again, I agree there. While I don't doubt that there are those who can still travel and do this, the vast majority of people need to have at least a semi-permanent residence in order to earn a steady income.

Are they a "hopeless and purposeless" people? No, I'd say there are many who still have hope, but I have met many who have pessimistic outlooks on the future of the community. And it is a fact that their original "purpose" (providing seasonal labor and facilitating the exchange of goods between regions), which they performed admirably for hundreds of years, is now largely gone. They're resourceful, yes, and I hope they find new areas to thrive in, but right now they're in a very tough transition phase.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:22 AM

Thanks Tyler.

Jim, we ALL have to conform to societal norms in all sorts of ways.
It seems to me that modern travellers are out of time....we need to have a look at how society is made up and working, construct a society where everyone is valued.......and that's us back to the old argument regarding financial aspiration as opposed to social strength and welfare.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:41 AM

I don't see this so much as there being, or indeed needing to be a purpose for a community. Members of many communities have learned new skills. Members of communities from the Indian sub-continent are to be found throughout the retain and IT industries, for example and also finance and law. Members of communities from Africa and the Caribbean seem very prevalent in the caring professions. Without people from non-English communities our hospitals would collapse, and there seem to be many many Eastern European dentists. These are not purposes as such, merely callings or ways to make a living.

The Traveller and Romany communities traditionally had a hostility to literacy and schooling (for Star Trek fans, consider the Ferengi), and as a result they are now at a disadvantage in the conventional jobs markets. But since the advent of mobile communication and the internet this need not be so, and for many many years there have been Travellers and Romanies (by descent) who have been conventionally economically active. I know tolerably well one woman who was born underneath a set of railway arches, and married a "muddy" (longshore bait-digger). Her children are for example in the police and teaching. She is largely retired but was a schools assistant. I know quite well one chap whose family were "carny" but he made his way both in logistics and in IT. I know very well another whose maternal ascendants were Romany, who spent a long time in the navy (becoming an officer) then logistics, eventually becoming disabled by back injuries.

It seems to me that there are two questions. Should the old ways be remembered and cherished? I think so. Africans and Caribbeans would be emotionally poorer if Black history were not celebrated, and First Americans and Australians should celebrate their histories. So should Travellers and Romanies. Secondly, should they be preserved without evolution? I cannot see that. In all four cases unless Disnified they would be pathways to being trapped in poverty and disadvantage. What would make sense would be modern educational access in a mobile context, and the enablement of sufficient access to empower an itinerant lifestyle until the carrot of economic empowerment caused that lifestyle to fade away.

It won't happen with conservatives racists and bigots in power though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:45 AM

Whether static or mobile, perhaps more emphasis should be placed here on consistent full time education for travellers children.
Surely a responsibility should be paramount over all other considerations ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:49 AM

I see Richard amply addressed my post while I ws still typing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:31 AM

"But I think akenaton's point is that their itinerant lifestyle is not conducive to this, "
As things stanbd at the present time this is true - their lifestyle has been destroyed by the fact that they have been deliberately forced off the road and onto permanent sites,
The Major Government ended the legal obligation to provide permanent sites (which were never adequate anyway) and the situation is that the majority of Travellers simply have nowhere to stop - nowhere.
Some ghettoiesed Traveller housing has been built here - a pinprick compared to the overall problem, a few crude halting sites exist - usually miles from the towns, with a standpipe, portable toilets and a single light - but by and large there are only unofficial sites with no facilities whatever.
Settled people refuse to have them living in houses near to them.
The winter we moved here, a caravan fire left a family homeless.
The council, in a rare display of charity, agreed to house the family until after Christmas and found them an empty house on a small estate.
THe residents formed a mob for a few nights, stood in the roadway chanting "Travelers out, residents in".
The family persevered for a time but finally, when the mother and her kids were stopped on the main street and told, "If you hang around you'll be needing the services of the fire department again",
thay left and spent Christmas in a borrowed tourer holiday caravan in a car park next to the Atlantic   
A local meeting was organised by the Bishop of Kilaloe, to try and reconcile the situation - he was more or less told to mind his own business.
Travellers are not trying to maintain their itinerant lifestyle - they are fighting to stay alive.
No idea what your solution is Tyler, but I sense the same old hostility and total misunderstanding we encountered for over the thirty years in our work with Travellers from Ake.
I opened this thread to explain what has happened recently here - it is one of many examples and it stands to accelerate.
I really would appreciate some human feedback rather than having Travellers being presented as "problems" rather than human beings.
The last time I heard Travellers described as "a sector of society without a purpose" was by Councillor and JP, Harry Watton who recommended that those who would not change "the impossibles" be exterminated - that was in 1963.
Things have got unbelievably worse since then.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:54 AM

By the way Richard - throughout the time we worked with Travellers there was no opposition to literacy - students supporting them actually hired old buses and set up schools which were well attended until the Councils closed them down.
Travellers, certainly over here, have now set up their own literacy, art and education programmes, often unfunded.
Travellers who have nowhere permanent to stop are at an immediate disadvantage as far as general education is concerned and the persecutiuon that goes on in schools, both from pupils and in some sad cases, by teachers, is considerable.
As far as literacy being a disadvantage - my experiences in the building trade have shown literacy never to have been a issue -ever - office work maybe, but not the type of work Travellers tend to take up.
Employers are reluctant to take on people who can't provide an address, not because they can't read and write.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 06:02 AM

You fail to see that society, not the travellers per se, is the PROBLEM.

There is unfortunately no immediate sign that any meaningful change is about to take place in society......you should know what needs to be done, yet you stick to the illusion of social change which we have seen over the last couple of decades.
Financial aspiration has killed many cultures ruined our environment and most importantly to me, desolated the countryside and ways of life in which the travellers were an integral part.

I have worked with the old Scottish tinkers, shared a can of tea and a wee dram with them after weary days on our hands and knees thinning turnips in the long dry summers, under the whirling tumbling Peewits and listening to their wild melancholy cries.....makes me sad just to think about it.......all gone, even the Peesies and all the other birds which were the evening song of the West of Scotland....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:42 AM

"You fail to see that society, not the travellers per se, is the PROBLEM."
On the contrary - a society that will not accept anybody whose lifestyle is "different" is exactly the problem.
Laws have been introduced and in the Travellers case rescinded, to bring about necessary changes - the simple act of providing land with drainage sanitation water and electricity is all that is necessary to alleviate the present situation - there is no shortage of land nad evicting Travellers costs far more than leaving them where they are - got and look how it cost to clear dale Farm.
Travellers are numbered in thousands in Britain and in Ireland - they are not being allowed to stay where they are and settled people don't want them living next door - you work out the horrifying alternative.
It is not finance but greed which is killing cultures in Britain - and in the world -go and look at the percentages of who owns what in the world today - unimaginable.
Travellers wealth don't even blip on the figures.
Humanity is destroying the planet; global warming, greenhouse gases, rain- forest destruction... acquisition.... - not alternative lifestyles
All your romantic reminiscences don't begin to address the real problem - there is a process of ethnic cleansing taking place in these islands at the present time - if it continues, Travellers will become Britain's Native Americans, Maoris, Australian Aborigines..... races of people who have been deliberately wiped out by "progress".
Simple question Ake - I have outlined what I believe is happening now - at this moment.
How do you suggest the present situation is dealt with - or don't you believe it exists (sorry - two simple questions)
Please try to address your answers (if you are intending to give any) to the fact that we are talking about human beings - men, women and children, and not "a problem"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 08:53 AM

Read my post again Jim.....of course modern society is the problem, but travellers have no option but to conform in the short term. Hopefully sometime in the future we shall see a REAL societal change in which people are not measured by how much money they are capable of gathering together, but in what they contribute to society.

I feel you are being rather deliberately obtuse, you asked me to go and meet some actual travellers and I responded that I have worked and socialised with them probably before you stopped pissing your pants.   You have an obsession with bigotry, you see it in every doorway except the one in which it dwells.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 09:03 AM

Another thing Scottish and Irish Travellers are not a "race", but a Group, most descendants of the old clan system, or Lowland Scots itinerants.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 09:32 AM

"Another thing Scottish and Irish Travellers are not a "race", but a Group,"
Can't speak for the UK but recent research has dated based on DNA has dated Irish 'Tinkers' back as far as the Bronze Age, I suspect (based on Lucy Duran's wonderful programmes of twenty years odd ago) that this is the case with all Travellers in these Islands.
"but travellers have no option but to conform in the short term."
And you appear to be equally obtuse - how can they conform if they have no stopping places and are refused access to settled property.
There is no "short term" about this - like in Tesco's sale 'when they're gone, they're gone'
Our thirty odd year association with Travellers didn't just consist of sitting around the campfire for a cosy chat - it was thirty years of interviewing them intensively, first about their oral culture and early history, and later about their urban experience - this included witnessing evictions and actual examples of persecution and, on a number of occasions, actually being subjected to that persecution ourselves because of our associating with "those people".
One night we got a call from one family in Hackney
Their 14 year old son had been arrested, unbeknownst to the parents, not charged, but told he fitted the description of someone who had been seen breaking into a house in Birmingham, driven up to that fair city in a police car, still not charged, and finally released without being questioned - and left to make his own way back to Hackney with about a fiver in his pocket.
I think I've mentioned my playing a part in preventing a fire-bomb attack on an unofficial site on Streatham Common because of a mouthy workmate whose brother-in-law and his neighbours were organising the event - as I was once told by an attractive young lady when I attempted to bat above my league "Come back when you've got hairs on it".
I have no "obsession with bigotry" - I say what I see, and you really aren't helping to change what I'm seeing here.
I ask again - what do you propose should happen to those being ethnically cleansed, or am I imagining it all?
You have little to add to the discussion here other than to express your disapproval of Travellers lifestyle - just like all those nice householders at the end of 'The Travelling People'
Did You know that, shortly after the radio ballad was made, a Midlands Council received a large sum of Government money tp ease the lot of Travellers in their area - they used it to evict the Travellers and fence off the sites.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,Tyler Alderson
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:34 PM

Jim, I think yourself, myself, and akenaton are all in agreement that society has failed the Travellers, and that discrimination, NIMBYism, and a general lack of caring (and worse) has forced them into their unfortunate predicament. I also think we're all in agreement that the general public should be much less hostile to Travellers, and that they should be allowed to live, work, and travel as they please.

I sense no hostility towards Travellers in akenaton's posts. Instead, I get the opinion that the old lifestyle of travelling and doing various jobs is at this point sadly unsustainable. With that, I think you'll find little argument not only from me, but from many members of the Travelling community.

As for my solution, I don't have one, or at least not an overarching one (one should always be wary of final solutions anyway). Really, the solutions should come from inside the community, since they know what's best for themselves better than we ever would. But if you asked me what should be done, I'd say that expanding access to education, skills/job training, and public services is key. The education system has completely failed Travellers, which has left the ones my age (20s) in the lurch without sellable skills or even basic literacy. I'd also say that we need to address the health problems running rampant among Travellers, particularly mental health issues like drug abuse, suicide, and depression. Housing needs to be found for those that want it, with proper utilities and in suitable areas, rather than shoved in the forgotten corners on the outskirts of towns. Trespass and right-of-way laws should be relaxed and suitable halting sites established for those who can still travel.

All of these have one thing in common, which is that they require the cooperation of both the general public and the Travelling community. I think this is the hardest part, because of a general distrust on both sides. I was told many times as I was welcomed into homes that the response may have been different if I had been a settled Irish person rather than an American. I think many of the things you've mentioned give a good sense of why that is. Settled people have their own horror stories about Travellers, many untrue or exaggerated for sure, but others that need to be acknowledged and dealt with. The media's portrayal of Travellers gives many people who've never actually met one a very bad impression, which is a problem that should be remedied.

All in all, I think one of the best things to realize is that everyone in this thread has been sympathetic to the plight of the Travellers, and wants to help. It would be best if, rather than fighting over words and phrases, we joined as advocates for helping Travellers get what they need and deserve.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:20 PM

I think you need to read Akenhateon's old posts. I infer that his present assertion that the traveller community is purposeless is a dog whistle for genocide.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,Tyler Alderson
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 06:11 PM

Possibly. Or maybe his point of the community being "purposeless" is not some sort of condemnation of the community but an observation of the mood of the community. It's not that they are inherently "purposeless" (what would that even mean?), it's that they are seen as and made to FEEL purposeless. It used to be that Travellers were needed by people to do various jobs, and now that those jobs are generally gone, people don't see the need for Travellers. So, they figure they should get a house and a 9-5 and get along like the rest of us do. They, in essence, feel like Travellers have no purpose, and this has become engrained in the way society talks about Travellers. Assimilation is the name of the game and has been for a while, and if they won't assimilate, well, that's their problem.

Of course, this is awful rhetoric, and like you said, there is no inherent "purpose" needed for a community. But that doesn't mean that the existential crisis of the past 50 years for Travellers can't be boiled down to the fact that many people (and not just settled people) feel that the community is, for lack of a better term, purposeless.

Again, maybe I'm not picking up what he's been putting down, but this is the impression I get.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 06:14 PM

Richard is referring o posts of mine concerning modern "travellers" who were using a purpose built site near where I live to store and deal drugs to local addicts.
They also were involved in money lending and extortion at knife point.
These people were taking advantage of their special status grouping and where the site was situated to evade prosecution.
Anti discrimination legislation made arrests difficult. Finally the site had to be closed and the families rehoused in more accessible accommodation where the police could keep tabs on them.

I followed the situation for a number of years and have spoken to the young victims of these thugs........they are not what I would refer to as travellers, but they were using the legislation to their advantage and to the terrorising of the drug users, many of whom carry the scars to prove it.

Being sympathetic to the predicament of travellers does not equate to the support of brutal thugs....to serve an agenda.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 06:49 PM

Travellers do themselves no favours by colluding with popular media to be depicted as undereducated bare knuckle fighting thugs,
backwards religious reactionaries, or ridiculously over extravagant tasteless gaudy teenage virgin brides ???


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Greg F.
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:43 PM

Ya sure they ain't Muslims too, Guest?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:47 PM

Greg, why would UK travellers portray themselves on TV or elsewhere to be muslims.
Please explain your fuddled comment ???


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:57 PM

The 06.14 and 06.49 posts are nothing other than blatant demonising.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 08:43 PM

"I get the opinion that the old lifestyle of travelling and doing various jobs is at this point sadly unsustainable."
I made a point of saying right at the beginning that I believe this attitude was romantic nonsense - it is Ake who constantly harks back to it - not me.
"I sense no hostility towards Travellers in akenaton's posts"
Anybody who uses a term like "The point is Jim, that they have become a sector of society without a purpose." is hostile, as far as I'm concerned - no section of society has "a purpose" other than to do the best for their family and stay alive - the Travellers are probably the most protective and loving people towards their children that I ever met.
"Really, the solutions should come from inside the community,"
No they most certainly don't - not for us in the settled community nor for Travellers -
None of us decides to be homeless - it is beyond our control - yet count the number of homeless people in Britain and Ireland today - what alternative have they?
Mental health issues, drink and drugs is due first to urbanization Travellers moving into cities and youngsters picking up city habits.
Drugs were rife in Britain in the 'Swingin' Sixties' yet the Travelling communities were relatively untouched by the phenomenon.
Sure - there is a drink problem among Travellers - if I was forced to endure they conditions thay have to I'd probably rat-arsed every night.
A Traveller boasted on 'The Travelling People' that 'Wars and murders were aspects of settled, not Travelling life - and he was right - MacColl even wrote a short song about it entitled ' The Gypsies Answer'

"They say we leave litter and mess up the land,
We're the dirty Travelling people.
But who laid the blight on each mill and factory site?
Was it us - or the Gorgio people?

They say we're a menace to the health of the land,
The unhealthy Travelling people.
But who poisoned the air and the rivers everywhere?
Is it us - or the Gorgio people?

They say we're dishonest, not worthy of trust,
The thieving Travelling people.
But who kills for gain, who robs banks and holds up trains?
Is it us - or the Gorgio people?

They say we are quarrelsome, given to blows,
The violent Travelling people.
But who starts the wars, breaks the first of human laws?
Is it us - or the Gorgio people?

They say we are backward, retarded and dull,
The ignorant Travelling people.
But who judges and condemns those who're different to them?
Why you do - the Gorgio people."

A survey was done in Britain in the seventies and it was found that the most common convicted crime among Travellers was not possessing vehicle tax and insurance - official.
Travellers do know what's best for themselves, but they are the last people to be consulted when it comes to legislating on Travelling life.
The authorities decide that Travellers can no longer remain on the road - even though it is far more economical to keep them there rather than build largely unwanted houses in walled-off ghettos      
When sites are built they are never consulted - their needs are decided by outsiders - social prejudice takes precedence over both Travellers need or even economic considerations.
Travellers once played an essential part in rural life, both in Britain and Ireland - things moved on and the Travellers adapted - it is the settled communities and the authorities who have failed to adapt to the fact that, all of a sudden we have this community of strangers amongst us - Britain has never come to terms with immigration for pretty much the same reasons - an inbuilt fear and mistrust of strangers.
Anybody who has spent any length of time with Travellers will know that, once your get to know them, and they you, they are friendly, gregarious and embarrassingly generous -
They have no great culture of acquisition, so much so that, if you openly admire something they have, you will end up taking it home, whether you want it or not -
I'll tell you about a gold necklace Pat still treasures sometime, or the time I went into a pub (in my working clothes) in Battersea looking for a Traveller who was not there, and refused a drink from a another Traveller I had never and began to head home
I was taken outside and given a fiver because he thought I had refused because I couldn't afford to buy a drink in return.
The people we recorded became friends - some of those friendships lasted as long as the time we worked with them -
I'm not a particularly weepy person but one of the few times I openly wept was when we were informed over the phone that Mikeen McCarthy had died.
You say Travellers need to co-operate - with what exactly? -
All they are being asked to co-operate in at present time is their own destruction - there is simply nothing whatever on offer - Where are they supposed to go - to foster homes and hostels and refuges, as suggested by the Louth Council.
None of this is in any way new.
At the height of the housing boom in London, Hammersmith Council, under Mrs T's friend, Lady Porter (she who moved council tenants into asbestos-riddled flats so she could sell their former homes privately and alter the election balance of the Borough) - moved the Travellers to a legally required Travellers site under the elevated section of the Shepherds Bush Flyover - it was found to have one of the greatest concentrations of lead fumes in Europe.
You don't have a solution - my heart bleeds for you!"
Can you explain why Travellers could not be found halting sites with basic facilities where they can stay, or go for periods, if they wish - I'm buggered if I can
It's a far cheaper solution than evicting them and a million times more economical than the walled concrete ghettos that house something less than twenty percent of Travellers on the road today?   
Sorry to be so long winded, but for further reading, I suggest you read anything written by Sharon and George Gmelch, or, for Britain, the superbly humane, 'The Gypsies' by Civil Servant and eventually Chairman of the British Board of Customs, Sir Angus Fraser.
The latter contains all the humanity and understanding that is missing from this discussion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 10:40 PM

Steve - you are inadvertently mistaking the 06:49 PM post for demonisation.
Read it again and note the emphatic question marks.

I trust your usual intelligence to now realise this.

It is a valid question based on individuals / minority sectors of the travelling community
prostituting and distorting their culture on TV for the prurient entertainment of the mass audience.

By shaking hands with TV production companies and accepting big fat £££s
they knowingly conform to and confirm the negative stereotyping that Jim here is so fiercely fighting against.

[re: Hegemony]

They are guilty of collusion against the real positive interests of their community for their own petty personal individual profit.

Oh well, if I have to be forced into explaining a point that was offered as an open question to stimulate discussion.

You don't sign your name to your most contentious posts, "Guest." Is it a valid request that you stand up and take responsibility for your opinions when they're so abrasive? ---mudelf


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:19 AM

IF your not
Living on the edge

Your takin up room

Sliversprings Guru


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 03:26 AM

It's funny how the rest of society can act.

A good few years ago, at a public meeting I was being questioned (I chaired the local health authority at the time) by members of a Parish Council over our attempts to send health visitors into a nearby traveller camp, their beef being spending public money on them.

Despite all the positive reasons I (with support from our director of public health) gave, the saddest part for me was that nobody was interested in the health of the children at the camp, but seemed satisfied with our action when we pointed out the prevalence of TB in the traveller community and that they share pubs and supermarkets with local people.

Whatever views are of individual traveller contact, and when in business I have had a factory unit broken into and tools stolen, later recovered in a police raid on the site next to the industrial estate, and no, I wasn't a bit surprised.. People are people are humans.

Humanity is important, or should be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 04:28 AM

"By shaking hands with TV production companies and accepting big fat £££s they knowingly conform to and confirm the negative stereotyping that Jim here is so fiercely fighting against."
This is, of course true - like all basically poor people, Travellers will make money where they can to support their families.
I find the hypocrisy towards bare-fist fighting stunning.
It is a detestable 'sport' - as it was when I was an apprentice on the Liverpool Docks in the 1950s/early sixties, where I, had I been that way inclined, could find out where the latest 'cash fight' was taking place and spend my lunchtime watching two men stripped to the waist beating each other to a pulp with bare fists.
If I wished, I could have gone off to a badger baiting, or a dog-fight or a cock fight a few miles outside the city.
The kicking matches, where two mill workers would stand facing each other wearing wooden shoes, and take turns at kicking each other's shins until one of them could bear the pain no longer had, sadly, not long gone.
Mikeen McCarthy's father, Michael senior, was a miner for a time, and he prize fought bare fisted in the South Wales mines - with miners (he was the only Traveller in the game there).
I was once taken to a 'coursing match' by a tradesman where I worked, in Waterloo, North Liverpool - perfectly legal (it remains one of the popular 'sports' here in rural Ireland).
The sound and vision of two dogs fighting over a live hare, one holding one leg, the other another, until they managed to tear it in half, while men formed a ring and placed bets as to which of them would 'win' has never left me.
Nowadays, if I was into blood sports, I can turn on tele and watch two men beat each other brain-dead with gloves on.
Or I might even go into the countryside here and see groups of mounted men setting off to hound a fox to death - slowly and extremely reluctantly becoming a thing of the past.
Sex - now there's a thing - I can trawl the net and watch couples shagging whenever I choose - if I was into that sort of thing, I could find the same happening to children, and I'm assured that snuff movies, where women are filmed being raped and even killed are doing the rounds.
One of the sports around here is boy-racing, where young men climb into cars and turn our lanes into death traps - often killing and maiming themselves and innocent locals in the process.
We take the piss out of young Traveller women who marry in grotesque costumes yet happily accept all the risible fashions that appear on our screens in 'fashion shows' or in 'extremely Come Dancing - or some of those shows (very popular in the U.S. I understand), where parents dress up children (sometimes little older than toddlers) in adult costumes, complete with full makeup and hair styles, as 'jail bait' for the titillation of adults.
Don't get me started on the stylised violence that is on offer nightly - sometimes meriting its own channel.
We accept all these without a blink, yet hold up our hands in horror when a people who have been culturally and socially marginalised continue with a small number of practices that were still fairly common within my lifetime certainly.
The Travellers we knew were a highly moral people - we must have attended a dozen weddings (not a sign of the big frocks in those days - unless you counted Confirmation Dresses) - the parents went to sometimes extreme measures to ascertain that their daughters remained virgins right up to marriage.
Here we are - I opened a thread on what is happening to Travellers in Irealnd this very minute and am once again back to fighting to defend the people who are at the brunt of social ostracisation and persecution - funny old world!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 04:48 AM

"You don't sign your name to your most contentious posts, "Guest." Is it a valid request that you stand up and take responsibility for your opinions when they're so abrasive? ---mudelf"


[ mudelf - I use a consistent recognizable name when matters relate to my own personal life,
or the 'comedic' semi fictional world associated with that name & persona.

(except for when I simply forget to type a name)

But I remain anonymous when the point is more important and pertinent to a discussion
than the ID of the person making it.

These are my personal general rules of conduct and engagement

As a moderator of a board plagued by ad hominem rancour and stalking from thread to thread,
you should understand and respect this choice of modes of expression;
rather than getting obsessive with IP addresses, and adding your own unwarranted petty sniping comments.

The other alternative is multiple guest IDs depending on the thread and subject matter;
but we've already been there and agreed it is not positively conducive to mudcat community cohesion...??? ]


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 05:34 AM

If guest posting is allowed, moderators should not harass those who comment as guests. Simple really.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:27 AM

No posting without logging in. Everyone has a unique moniker. Jesus, it's so bloody hard, isn't it, mods? It's your system so don't knock it when "Guests" (and what a laugh THAT is!!) abuse it. Which they do, often, and which they are doing in this thread. The whole point is to make you think twice before you say bloody stupid or abusive things, because you know you can be identified and exposed, and, if necessary, sanctioned. It helps to protect everyone from abuse. I'm sick of hearing sanctimonious guff from "Guests" giving us their fake rationale for wishing to be anonymous. You can be anonymous even under those rules. I haven't a clue who akenaton is and have no wish to know. Make us log in. Make us have unique monikers. So easy. So sensible. Absolutely not a single reason in the world for not doing it. Not one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: akenaton
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:46 AM

The mods are the law around here, they do a difficult job usually rather well.....a few little slips but we are all human.

I they wanted to do so, they could expose/exclude all the ABUSIVE guests, but they are good souls.....better than me :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Travellers on the move
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:49 AM

I didn't actually mean expose them by revealing their true identities, to be clear. And I don't see how you can exclude anyone for very long when you can post without logging in.


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