Negative language targeted at Travellers unacceptable on our airwaves

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre, along with other people and groups who contacted us, were outraged at Mr. Tom Parlon’s use of the words ‘fighting like tinkers’ on Today with Sean O Rourke, on RTE Radio One today (31 January 2020).  This type of language gives an insight into the embedded racism and discrimination against Travellers. 

We are reminded of the term ‘fighting Irish’ often used in the UK and elsewhere in a way that denigrades Irish people.  Just because certain language may have been acceptable once – does not mean it is acceptable now.

This type of language in relation to Travellers is offensive and reinforces negative stereotypes that contribute to further divisions in our society and can result in negative outcomes for minority groups.  

It is especially inappropriate that people in positions of power and influence use this type of language.

It is positive that this expression was not allowed to go unchallenged on air and we acknowledge Mr. Parlon’s retraction of the expression.