Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Irish travellers

Irish Travellers

There are about 25,000 Irish Travellers in Ireland and 1,300 in Northern Ireland.
Following link will take you to an article about Irish Travellers.
I went along to the encampment at laira bridge to ask the travellers if i could interview them and take some photographs. These travellers had cut through a fence and are illegally camped on a site just outside of Plymouth city centre. My interpretor and I walked into the camp and approached a couple of men who immediately demanded my reason for being there, upon explaining my project and asking whether they would mind if I took a few photographs more people arrived. Although not overtly threatening there was an aggressive edge to their behaviour and they became rather hostile and persuasive once they understood my request. They decided we would have to pay £100 in order to take photographs of the site, which we could only haggle down to £50. What became clear was their drive for money, as soon as the prospect of getting some cash became viable we were surrounded and told to go to the cash point immediately and asked to confirm what time we would be coming back in an attempt to secure a deal... Even the children were asking us for our cameras and wallets. It was as if some ideology of gleaning money off every person who stumbles across you is engrained at an early age.

illegal camp of Irish travellers - photographed secretly - Harry Hilliar

The interesting thing for me about this type of travellers is that they live in contradiction to the romantic notion of romani gypsies living off the land and travelling from place to place offering aggricultural labour in return for a piece of land to settle for a while. These travellers all owned brand new expensive cars and caravans, preferred concrete settlements to grass ones and had sought out an inner city dwelling as opposed to a rural one. Instead of opposing the capitalist society and seeking an alternative existance their ideals and behaviour would suggest that they are infact wholesale subscribers to the capitalist machine, driven by the lust for cash. I do not know whether these cars and caravans are the majority of their possessions or whether or not they pay taxes. I continue to try and maintain a objective opinion of each traveller I come across however the danger of calling these type of travellers untrustworthy and dishonest is ever present and exemlified in this short clip below.

Snatch - film clip showing Irish travellers - (very similar to my own experience of their behaviour)

The following links will take you to This is Plymouth website pages with regrd to other illegal gypsy encampments in Plymouth.

Image below and article in Sun Newspaper about illegal traveller settlements.

Spreading misery ... huge camp of 1,000 Irish travellers at Crays Hill, Essex

THE Sun today launches a campaign to STOP John Prescott giving the green light to illegal gipsy camps across Britain.The Deputy Prime Minister has ordered local councils to go soft on travellers camps and turn a blind eye to the shocking problems they create.But The Sun, on behalf of our ten million readers, is determined to fight him all the way.

1 comment:

  1. In 2002 the Irish government passed a law making trespass on land a criminal offence, effectively evicting a huge portion of their gypsy population. As both Ireland and ZuK are signatories yo the EU I question how it can be legal or any European state top pass legislation effectively evicting thousands of its poorest citizens. I have lodged an epetitions asking the UK govt to challenge the Irish law before Europe. The petition is challenge Irish land trespass laws