The co-director of Traveller advocacy group Pavee Point has said he was “alarmed” over reports that 100 people attended a post-wedding gathering in Longford.
It is understood that the guests attended a post-wedding celebration in a marquee in Co Longford on Wednesday night, despite an earlier court order for the structure to be dismantled.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Martin Collins said that the message from Pavee Point had been clear and consistent regarding public health measures.
He called on members of the Traveller community to respect public health guidelines.
“All large gatherings must be avoided at all costs,” he said.
“Almost 5,000 people in Ireland alone have lost their lives to Covid-19, so I am very alarmed, I am very concerned,” he added.
“Again I would plead with members of my own community to please display a little bit more responsibility and protect themselves, protect their family and protect their community from this lethal, lethal disease.”
The Irish Times reports that the local authority secured a Circuit Court order in Sligo on Wednesday morning for the marquee structure’s removal, following its emergence less than 24 hours earlier.
Several units of uniformed gardaí were drafted in to maintain a “watching brief” at the site on Wednesday afternoon in a bid to prevent any unrest.
It is understood the marquee remained in place however and the wedding party returned to the venue later on in the evening.
A number of the wedding party guests had earlier attended a ceremony at St Mel’s Cathedral ahead of the after-party.
The whole community gets stigmatised by that
Pavee Point co-director Ronnie Fay pointed out that it was a minority of Travellers who have not adhered to public health guidance.
“The majority of Travellers have been exemplary and have really done their best to protect themselves and their families,” she told RTÉ Radio.
“Unfortunately the spotlight gets focused on large attendance at funerals or a wedding like in Longford — unfortunately the whole community gets stigmatised by that.
“We don’t condone that behaviour, we’ve said it is unacceptable for anybody, including Travellers, to have large gatherings during a pandemic, unfortunately the whole Traveller community gets stigmatised and vilified when some Travellers don’t adhere to public health guidelines.”