National Traveller Organisations Call for Compliance with Restrictions on Funerals
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Traveller organisations around the country are today calling on Travellers to fully adhere to COVID-19 public health measures, including restrictions on funerals. In this way people can show the deceased the respect and dignity they deserve.
Both the Government
and the Catholic Church have stated that only immediate family members – up to
a maximum of 10 people – should attend church and graveside services and
physical distancing should be maintained at all times.
Restrictions relate to ALL funerals, including those of
people who have died of COVID-19.
There are no
post-funeral social gatherings and An Gardaí Síochána have powers to enforce
COVID-19 restrictions during this crisis.
Neither are large gatherings allowed for month’s mind and yearly
Families in the Future
are not easy and Traveller organisations understand the importance of funerals
to bereaved families. We want to make sure people to take the
long-term view on this. We want to make sure that as many people as
possible are around to support bereaved families in the future.
are vulnerable, may be in a state of shock and feel unable to get the message
across that it’s ok to stay away from a funeral. But, given the COVID-19
situation, bereaved families do understand that people need to stay at home.
The reality is that
we don’t know who has, or who does not have, the virus – so it is vital that we
take ALL precautions. We are all being encouraged to act as if we
all have COVID-19 and that’s why we’ve been told to stay at home as
much as possible and not to meet up in groups.
Gatherings Put the
Community at Risk
The COVID-19 crisis
is particularly hard on Travellers given underlying health conditions and
overcrowded living conditions. Gathering at funerals is a sure-fire way to make
the situation worse and pass on the virus if any one person does happen to
have it. This puts the whole Traveller community at further risk. By
adhering to the restrictions, we can do our part in reducing (as far as
possible) further spread of virus and/or prevent any unnecessary deaths.
Marking the passing
of a loved one is hugely important and to see a loved one buried without the
usual ceremonies is very difficult. But it will be
possible in the future to hold a church service for the loved one who
has passed. At that point people will get a chance to pay their respects
in person and pass on their good wishes to the family.
Alternative Ways to
In the meantime it
is possible to communicate via mass card, telephone, What’s App or
Facebook and to pass on messages of sympathy that way. And often you can
watch the church service online through the church’s website. It is also
possible to set up a book of online condolences at www.rip.ie.
Bereaved Traveller families
need our support – not just now but into the future. By staying at home
during COVID-19 we can make sure we will be there for them in the
weeks, months and years to come.
Paul O’ Driscoll,
PP, Parish of the Travelling People
National Traveller Women’s Forum
Martin Collins, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre
Irish Traveller Movement
Traveller Counselling Service
Exchange House Ireland
Nancy Power, National
Traveller Voice Magazine