Last night as I lay in the bed of my childhood days, happy to be back to the place I will always call home, I slept contentedly. I had travelled to be with my Mum and family as we remembered my Dad who passed away in 1987 on October 9th.
Little did I know that only a few miles from my home a family were about to be wiped out and the lives of a community ripped apart. For as I slept a fire broke out and ten members of two families lost their lives. They were living on an official travellers halting site, in two prefabricated buildings.
Tonight as I try, and fail, to comprehend the enormity of losing a mother, father and their five children, as well as three others, I am trying to unsee the horrific, anti traveller comments I read online this afternoon. Having seen them I wonder at the rights and wrongs of free speech. I wonder at the parents who raised such adults and I wonder at the country we have become.
I can’t change those sick individuals, but I can say that I believe we are all born equal, no better or worse than anyone else. Hopefully over the next few days and weeks many more in my community will show they agree with me; that they really are not racist, without adding but’….
My condolences to all those affected by last nights fire, for you I have no words, because sometimes there just aren’t any.
47 thoughts on “I am not racist, but….”
Well said. And sadly it needs to be said.
Thanks Helen. I’ve never posted an actual news post but today really got to me. Many of my own great friends would even admit to having prejudices against Travellers. Hopefully the next generation will see an end to that, but surely tragedy such as this should cut through all barriers. That is what upset me the most, as if travellers would feel the loss any differently.
this makes me so sad, tric. things like this are happening all over the world, and i think it’s fear and of differences and ignorance that allow this to happen.
I was shocked to my core when I saw that a comment saying RIP to the family was met in a short period of time by over 200 thumbs down remarks. I was not only shocked but so disappointed with my fellow country men. I still hope the majority of my countrymen will not react in such a manner and my faith in the Irish will be restored.
So sad to hear, and thank you for speaking up. Could you explain the term “travellers” for those outside Ireland? I’m not sure what group it refers to…
I’ll refer you to the Wikepedia link for them here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Travellers.
However if you were Irish and asked to explain what it means to be a Traveller you might hear differently, a simplified and perhaps ignorant description. As a rule they are often associated with crime, burglary, and tax evasion. They live either in caravans, moving from place to place in Ireland and the UK, or stay on halting sites and go to school (settled traveller)
However we are being misled (in my opinion). Every community has it’s bad eggs, we just need to understand crime is also committed by the settled community but it’s much easier to blame it on travellers. They have their own very different culture and it is different to that of the settled community. If you were to wonder about racism in this country those who are black are probably more accepted than those from the travelling community.
Thanks Tric, a very tragic report on two counts. Alas, things are no different here in NZ. A recent tragedy here was referred to by some as ‘Natural Selection.;’ vile and disgusting with no regard for life and difference.
Oh my goodness that is disgusting. I’d be bereft if my country folk had that opinion.
It’s hard to stomach and despite being so proud on many occasions to be Irish, at times like this the blinkers come off an I am ashamed.
I agree with you Tric – well said. ❤
Thank you Diana. I wasn’t going to post it but I felt so strongly about it so pressed ‘publish’.
So sorry to hear about the fire and the tragic loss of ten lives. I am also sad to hear that some people are being hateful instead of supportive of the travelers who have arrived on your shores. I am sorry to say that some in the US are similarly exclusionary. It’s so upsetting.
It’s so difficult to imagine so many lives lost, particularly within one family. I find it amazing and impossible to understand how people can have so much hate in their lives. Thankfully today the country is rallying around their community and letting them know we care.
It is heartening to hear that people are rallying to help. I know most people are good-hearted. It’s unfortunate that the mean spirited ones are often the loudest.
Ah, good for you for speaking up, Tric. It must be done! To be quiet is to be complicit. I’m so sorry for such a terrible event!
Yes I wrote it to get it off my chest but hadn’t planned on posting it but I felt so strongly about what I’d read I decided not publishing was not an option.
Unfortunately, wet have that here in the States. If I read a news article, I skip the comments because they are sure to be full of hate and racism. It’s a sad state of affairs, worldwide, I fear.
I never, ever read the comments as I thought they were posted by trolls. However one of the first comments caught my eye and I was incredulous so read some more. Thankfully they eventually closed the comments but it was too late I couldn’t ‘unsee’ them.
I hadn’t heard about this story, but I had a quick look on Google News Ireland to find out more about it. What can I say? It’s truly awful. People who would use something like this as an excuse to make vile comments about travellers are much the same as the ones in the UK recently who thought the heartbreaking picture of the little three-year-old washed up on a beach was a perfect opportunity to vent about immigration. People like that fill me with despair and make me feel sick to my stomach.
You’re right they are definitely cut from the same cloth. I don’t think ignorance is an excuse. These people learned this hatred close to home. Thankfully today it looks like Ireland has spoken and the flags will fly at half mast on the day of their funerals. So many lost, all very young parents and children.
One hopeful thing I noticed when reading some of the Irish papers on Google is that the politicians seemed pretty united in saying that the whole thing was an awful tragedy. I didn’t read about any major figure trying to make hay out of it.
Yes everyone is now being very PC and I can feel a lot of genuine support for those left behind. My faith in my countrymen is being slowly restored.
Tric, I moved away from SM sites because of the extent to which many of them seem to bring out a nasty side of people.
It totally sickens me that anyone could have anything but pure sympathy for this tragic family.
May they Rest in Peace and may those who are grieving feel loved and supported for the terrible days, weeks, months, years that lie ahead for them.
Hear hear. Its so very sad.
I stayed away from news sites for this very reason, I will not ever be able to understand how people can be so viciously cruel, am very glad you wrote this x
I had to write it as I was so stunned to read what I did. At least the country is speaking out and hopefully the traveller community feel supported.
Lovely words. The only intolerance I exhibit is for those who are so full of hatred and bigotry: I’ve got no time for people like that.
Thank you. What it must be like to live a life of hatred and bigotry?
This is a few miles away from me too Tric and I was shocked to hear about it. Thankfully I did not see any of the racist comments. The travelling community do have a bad reputation for crime and some of it I have to say is warranted. But no-one, no matter their race nor ‘crime’ deserves such an horrific death as this. May they all RIP.
On another note I heard the term ‘modular housing’ in one of the news reports and wondered if this was their dwelling type? I do worry about modular housing and fire hazards when we think of it in terms of solving our homeless crisis…..
There is no getting away from the relationship in most of the settled communities minds, between travellers and crime. However I don’t think we can tar them all with the same brush. We live very close by and were broken in innumerable times when I was growing up, never by a traveller. There’s bad everywhere.
Having said that it’s an incredible tragedy. Looking at the photos today and imagining their families loss is impossible. We still feel the loss of Daniel so keenly I can’t fathom what lies ahead for these people.
I saw photos of the ‘houses’ they don’t look very substantial but I’m no expert. Mind you mobile homes are not great either.
any news, tric, as to whether this was a tragic accident or an arson attack ?
p.s. my mother was the youngest of 7 children
one of her elder sisters married a man whose surname is ‘Tinker’, hence one of my aunts, and several of my cousins, are Tinkers
as a fellow Celt you will understand why this story caught my heart – ‘Tinker’ being another name for travelling folk 😦
I well understand the term Duncan. Who’d have thought it. 🙂
They were fairly convinced from early on that this was a tragic accident. There has been thoughts that it was an electrical fault, but I think the extent of the damage is making it very difficult to examine properly.
There is to be a minute silence before the Irish/Poland match tonight for the families and those who lost their lives in Turkey yesterday. The Irish government have agreed to fly flags at half mast the day of the funerals.
I was raised by a racist, in an environment that to this day is racist. The good news is that going to college, being in the Navy, and living in a different area of the country, there is very little, if any, racism left within my heart. I am from a different country, but I still feel something painful, about the loss of so many lives, and worst of all the manner in which they died. May God be with them now.
Karen that is so heartening to hear that from such hatred and bigotry a new heart can be formed. I’ve followed you for quite some time and have always thought you had a good heart.
Mostly the people of this country seem to be behind these families and we are trying to support them through this terrible time.
Thank you so much.
I feel like I walked into to something I missed. You’re title I’m not racist but… left me a little confused. Help me out here.
My post speaks of a terrible fire which killed five adults and five young children. They were members of a minority group here called ‘travellers’. On a social media journal site I read appalling anti traveller comments instead of words of sympathy.
My post is a commentary on bigotry and the many who say ‘I am not rascist… but’.
Oh ok I get it now. So sorry t hear about 510 people regardless of who they are, that’s so tragic. When will people get it? We are all part of the same race…the human race.
I agree, Tric. Well said.
Sad but beautifully written.
Massive loss seems to be the theme around the world lately. I tune out, aching to be oblivious for I feel too deeply but once I tune back in there it is again, another copycat, another outpouring of hatred, another senseless loss of life. May God help us all…
The fire in this case was caused, it appears, by an electrical fault. However the housing unit was very small and overcrowded, so they hadn’t a chance. It’s very sad.
Thanks for clarifying… That does she’d a new light on the story. However, such massive loss is still hard to swallow. Sigh…
What a horrific incident Tric. My thoughts and prayers for that family and friend structure. And as horrific are the comments you make referencing the behavior towards it. I’m still, and always will be, shocked at the horrible behavior we demonstrate to one another.
Yes, it was shocking to read hatred instead of sympathy. However the government have announced flags are to be flown at half mast at their funerals. Travellers have very definite traditions around death and the country is respecting those traditions so it’s not all bad thankfully.
I’m glad the government is showing respect. What happened to us as humans Tric? That death is a reason for such behaviors?
So horrific about these families. It’s such a tragedy too that ignorant people are racists and feel the need to spew hatred. Prayers & Thoughts go out to the loved ones.