Travellers and employment


A chara, – Felim O’Rourke (“State policy on Travellers dodges employment issue”, Opinion & Analysis, November 7th) describes Peter Casey’s comments regarding Travellers as being “superficial and poorly informed”. However, he then goes on to state that it does not make sense for Travellers, “coming from a culture that is ambiguous towards paid employment”, to work in the conventional economy.

His reasoning behind this is twofold. First, that given the average number of children in Traveller families they are considerably better off on social welfare payments than they would be on average pay.

Second, and somewhat bizarrely, that by taking up a common-or-garden job a Traveller would be giving up on the potential income from casual trading, recycling and other activities which O’Rourke refers to as the “Traveller economy”. Or, put another way, they would no longer be able to claim social welfare while operating under the radar.

These are exactly the points Mr Casey, albeit in a less temperate manner, was making. – Is mise,


Kilkea, Co Kildare.