Following an arson attack on a Local Authority house that had been allocated to a Traveller family in South Kilkenny over the weekend, the Green Party has claimed that an endemic racism still exists towards the Traveller community in Ireland that is militating against their social advancement.
Commenting on the attack, Green Party spokesperson on the environment, community and local government and Kilkenny Cllr Malcolm Noonan said an incident of this nature was “inevitable” given the level of resistance towards the allocation of houses for Traveller families in Kilkenny.
“This is clearly a racist attack and is being fuelled by scaremongering within local communities. It was only a matter of time before an incident like this occurred. Racism towards Travellers permeates every facet of our society and we have councillors interfering with the work of our housing staff in allocating houses to Traveller families,” he said.
“The vast majority of Traveller families just wish to better their quality of life and cause no problems whatsoever. We have families living in conditions which are shameful in 21st-century Ireland, where health and education outcomes are among the poorest of any social group,” Cllr Noonan said.
“Our housing staff take great care in both the allocation of appropriate housing and in supporting Traveller families, communities must learn to give these families a chance,” he said. “This incident, however, is disturbing and represents a new low in attitudes towards the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in our society.”