Heard on RTE radio today:
In Sligo, some travellers [Irish gypsies] have been taking part in a research project on prejudice. Older travellers describe being made to clean up other children’s rubbish in playgrounds, and were hauled off to be forcibly washed by teachers. Nowadays it’s more subtle; settled children are told by their parents not to play with travellers. Teachers make assumptions about traveller kids’ honesty and intelligence. All travellers said that prejudice starts with the adults, not the other children.
My novel ‘Micka’ owes a great deal to my own experience of working with and meeting travellers in Scotland, Ireland and England. I hope that what I say in this work of fiction will get people thinking about gypsies as members of a complex and many layered society, not just a few stereotypes.