The Management, Staff and Volunteers of Kerry Travellers Health & Community Development Project are utterly dismayed at, and totally deplore, the violent actions of a number of individual members of the Traveller Community in recent days. This violence is a criminal matter and is being dealt with accordingly by the Gardaí and the Courts.
The Project totally deplores all violence and strongly urges those involved to refrain from such behaviour immediately. We are very concerned at the negative impact of such behaviour on the vast majority of the county’s 400 Traveller families, who are living peacefully.
The Project is acutely aware of the need for utmost care and sensitivity in its response to such emotive issues in as tight knit a community as the Traveller community, and of the potential repercussions otherwise for our ongoing work with the community throughout the county. We are also deeply aware of our need to be, and to be perceived to be, fair and equal.
What is abundantly clear from our experience to date is that the causes of conflict within the Traveller community are multi-faceted and require analysis and understanding to minimize their recurrence. Finding ways of getting sufficient community buy-in and building the Traveller community’s capacity to resolve conflict in non-violent and collaborative ways are essential.
While we appreciate the urgency of the situation, we realise that there is no quick fix and that a long term resolution will take time. We are committed to continue playing our part in working with the Traveller community, the Irish Traveller Movement and local agencies to create safety in the community and to try and find such a resolution to this particular dispute. To this end, we ask for the continued co-operation of the community and relevant agencies.
Kerry Travellers Health & Community Development Project