Travellers have ‘no respect for land or people’, Tipperary councillor says

Councillor said it was ‘very unfair’ to residents living near Traveller accommodation

Eddie Moran said he did not want to paint the entire Travelling community “with the one brush.” However, he said “they do what they like half the time ... gardaí can’t keep up with them.”

Eddie Moran said he did not want to paint the entire Travelling community “with the one brush.” However, he said “they do what they like half the time ... gardaí can’t keep up with them.”

 

An Independent Tipperary councillor has said the Travelling community has “no respect for land or people or Garda”.

County councillor Eddie Moran made the comment in an email to a constituent.

The female constituent had raised concerns with Mr Moran about presidential candidate Peter Casey’s comments on the Travelling community. Mr Moran in reply told her she was “behind the times”. His email to the constituent, seen by The Irish Times, said the Travelling community “have no respect for land or people or Garda not like old times”.

Mr Moran is a close political associate of Independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.

This week Mr Casey caused controversy over comments in relation to the Travelling community, when he said they were “basically people camping in someone else’s land.” Mr Casey also said he did not believe Travellers were a distinct ethnic group.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Moran said he did not want to paint the entire Travelling community “with the one brush”. However, he said “they do what they like half the time ... Gardaí can’t keep up with them.”

He said it was “very unfair” to residents living near Traveller accommodation. “When I was growing up there was Traveller sites and you could go down and have a cup of tea with them, those days are gone,” he said.

Mr Moran was co-opted on to the council in April 2016, where he had previously served before losing his seat in the 2014 local elections. In a Facebook post at the time Mr Lowry welcomed his return to the council, describing Mr Moran as a “capable and loyal member of the Lowry Team”.

Martin Collins, co-director of Pavee Point, said the councillor’s comments were “unwarranted and offensive” to the Travelling community. “People should refrain from using inflammatory language, and resorting to pandering or populism,” he said.

An extended Traveller family are involved in a dispute with Tipperary County Council, and have not moved into six new houses developed at a cost of €1.7 million, due to a disagreement over the provision of grazing land for their horses.

On Thursday Mr Casey visited the empty homes, located outside Thurles, where he refused to withdraw comments that the Traveller family’s refusal to move into the homes was “disgraceful and selfish” during a housing crisis.

Following criticism of his comments, Mr Casey suspended campaigning on Friday to consider if he would continue in the race to be president.

Mr Lowry declined to comment on Mr Moran’s comments in the email. In relation to the dispute around the six homes in Thurles, and Mr Casey’s statements, Mr Lowry said he felt “the debate hasn’t been helpful, and I’m not going to add to it”.