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Title: Becoming conspicuous : Irish travellers, society and the state, 1922-70
Author: Bhreatnach, Aoife Eibhlin
ISNI:       0000 0001 1493 0506
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis gives an historical account of the official and popular reaction to Travellers in independent Ireland. It describes the people who travelled Irish roads, outlining how and why Travellers were distinguishable from settled people. This study shows that one consequence of the developments in state and society from 1922 onwards was the alienation and isolation of Travellers. The urban and rural working class experienced massive social change, often as a result of government policy. Travellers became socially and economically distinct from the general population because of changing attitudes to the family economy and selfemployment determined by legislation such as the School Attendance Act 1926. When the introduction of planning redefined public space, campsites came to be viewed as eyesores. Planning legislation also introduced the concept of an amenity, a landscape designed for popular and tourist consumption. This had considerable implications for Travellers' use of marginal land. Despite complaints from local representatives, successive governments refused to tackle the `itinerant problem'. Occasionally efforts were made to target Travellers for public health reasons or on the basis of problems caused by vagrancy and homelessness. However, the government believed that the legal implications for the whole population of anti-Traveller measures were not worth enduring. While Travellers evaded repressive measures, they were largely ignored in welfare provision. Social welfare was extended in an ad hoc, piecemeal manner, with Travellers as a group among the last in society whose entitlement to assistance was recognised. The publication of the Report of the Commission on Itinerancy in 1963 marked a shift in the relationship between Travellers and the state. The report recommended settlement and assimilation as the solution to widespread poverty among Travellers and the hostility felt by the settled community. How the settlement programme was organised and directed, its successes and failures are also analysed. Many Travellers were politicised by their experience in the settlement programme of the 1960s. The thesis concludes when Traveller representatives were included in organisations established to minister to their community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 305 900 301 361 ; History Sociology Human services Housing