Thursday, September 29, 2011


Subject:Crays Hill  traverllers site feature Location:Crays Hill'They like to travel but they like a home too'

WHY are travellers at Dale Farm not travelling?

It is a question often aimed at the residents, many of whom have lived there for over ten years.​

PHOTO Crays Hill traverllers site feature Location:Crays Hill

But the fact they have settled does not necessarily mean they do not travel, according to a local academic.

Professor Thomas Acton, professor of Romani Studies at the University of Greenwich in London, told the Gazette that Dale Farm represents a "stage in the modernisation of the Irish Traveller community".
"Dale Farm is a little ghetto where they can have a base," said Prof Acton, who lives in Warley. "Children can go to school and enter into the modern world without losing their identity.
"They don't want to lose the elements of their lifestyle that they prize."

Prof Acton also shed some light on why travellers do not wish to live in bricks and mortar housing.
"They have never lived in houses. Their economic advantage is that they can move to the work and that creates a culture where mobility and living close to the sky are valued.
"I do know some gypsies who have moved into a house and they like it to be a bungalow with caravans out the back. Some of them actually prefer to sleep in the caravan," he said.

The argument that travellers no longer travel is also dismissed by the professor.
"Of course they travel. More than half of the families on the legal site are away travelling," he said.
"Many are away on work contracts in Europe, they will go where the work is.
"These are people who spend half a year in the US or Germany working. The thing that ties them down most is education for their children.

"Dale Farm is a sign of integration," he said.

"Irish traveller culture is becoming more accessible to other people. It is becoming a public culture. People are writing books about it, there are TV shows about it.

"An eviction will put things back to the way it was in the 1960s. It makes people hide. It would be a tremendous retrograde step."


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