Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"members of the travelling community"

The BBC apparently think that County Westmeath is in Northern Ireland - at least that's where they've put this story. Any fule know that Lough Ree is

"where the three counties meet, Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon"

Seven people have been arrested after a riot in County Westmeath involving two feuding extended families. Gardai say 200 people were involved in the violence at Dalton Park estate in Mullingar and riot police were needed to deal with the trouble.
Two petrol bombs were also thrown and a number of people treated in hospital. Trouble began at about noon when it is understood a prize fight involving members of two feuding local families sparked serious violence. Stones and missiles were thrown amid sustained fighting in the housing estate.
Blimey. It reminds me of this little contretemps round my way some fifteen year ago. I know it's dreadful stereotyping, but can you think of any community characterised by this sort of large-scale inter-family barney ? Well would you believe it ...

Several people were injured and taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in the town, where further fighting broke out between members of the travelling community. Riot police from the Garda Public Order unit were needed to quell the trouble, and the Garda helicopter unit was also sent to patrol the scene, with ambulances and fire brigade units also present. Seven people were due to appear in court in connection with the violence. Local reports say a feud has been simmering between two extended families over recent months.
One of the things that makes the police and others leery of upsetting Irish travellers too much is the knowledge that to offend one is to offend the clan.

'Twas ever thus. 1854 ...

“Only think,” said I. “And now tell me, what brought you into Wales?”

“What brought me into Wales? I’ll tell you; my own fool’s head. I was doing nicely in the Kaulo Gav and the neighbourhood, when I must needs pack up and come into these parts with bag and baggage, wife and childer. I thought that Wales was what it was some thirty years agone when our foky used to say — for I was never here before — that there was something to be done in it; but I was never more mistaken in my life. The country is overrun with Hindity mescrey, woild Irish, with whom the Romany foky stand no chance. The fellows underwork me at tinkering, and the women outscream my wife at telling fortunes — moreover, they say the country is theirs and not intended for niggers like we, and as they are generally in vast numbers what can a poor little Roman family do but flee away before them?

A pretty journey I have made into Wales. Had I not contrived to pass off a poggado bav engro — a broken-winded horse — at a fair, I at this moment should be without a tringoruschee piece in my pocket. I am now making the best of my way back to Brummagem, and if ever I come again to this Hindity country may Calcraft nash me.”

“I wonder you didn’t try to serve some of the Irish out,” said I.

“I served one out, brother; and my wife and childer helped to wipe off a little of the score. We had stopped on a nice green, near a village over the hills in Glamorganshire, when up comes a Hindity family, and bids us take ourselves off. Now it so happened that there was but one man and a woman and some childer, so I laughed, and told them to drive us off. Well, brother, without many words, there was a regular scrimmage. The Hindity mush came at me, the Hindity mushi at y my juwa, and the Hindity chaves at my chai. It didn’t last long, brother. In less than three minutes I had hit the Hindity mush, who was a plaguey big fellow, but couldn’t fight, just under the point of the chin, and sent him to the ground with all his senses gone. My juwa had almost scratched an eye out of the Hindity mushi, and my chai had sent the Hindity childer scampering over the green. ‘Who has got to quit now?’ said I to the Hindity mush after he had got on his legs, looking like a man who has been cut down after hanging just a minute and a half. ‘Who has got notice to quit, now, I wonder?’

Well, brother, he didn’t say anything, nor did any of them, but after a little time they all took themselves off, with a cart they had, to the south. Just as they got to the edge of the green, however, they turned round and gave a yell which made all our blood run cold. I knew what it meant, and said, ‘This is no place for us.’ So we got everything together and came away and, though the horses were tired, never stopped till we had got ten miles from the place; and well it was we acted as we did, for, had we stayed, I have no doubt that a whole Hindity clan would have been down upon us before morning and cut our throats.”