Here's a question from a leftie who has no beef with travellers generally: What the hell is the point of "traveller specific accommodation"? I've never understood this one. The definition of a traveller surely involves travelling nomadically - in which case, the provision of halting sites etc makes total sense. But the whole "settled traveller" thing is entirely lost on me, tbh. If a traveller decides to give up the nomadic lifestyle, permanently or otherwise, surely that individual just becomes a non-travelling Irish person, and therefore if he or she doesn't have the means to buy a house on the market, should apply for a council house like everyone else in that position?
The existence of concepts such as "traveller specific accommodation" and "settled travellers" are part of the problem IMO. As someone who has nothing against travellers, I do find the whole concept of the Traveller "identity" (Traveller with a capital "T") moronic - they should be regarded for the sake of policy as Irish people who choose to live a certain lifestyle, rather than that lifestyle being a core part of one's identity. It's not like a demographic attribute, a sexuality, or a disability, for example - ideally it should be considered something which anyone can choose to adopt, and likewise anyone can choose to give up. A nomadic lifestyle - nothing more, nothing less.
In my view, a lot of the issues around this would cease to be viewed in the same way if being a traveller was regarded as a lifestyle attribute rather than a demographic one. The state should facilitate the lifestyles which people in it choose to live, via, for example, providing places for people to park mobile homes and so on, but I for one don't think the state should regard it as a fundamental aspect of identity politics, and provide (to take one obvious example) segregated "traveller specific housing" for travellers who no longer want to be travellers. They should be considered part of the general social housing list.
The concept of Travellers with a capital T is something I regard as contributing nothing but conflict and unhappiness to the world. Live and let live, absolutely, but sub-divisions of the Irish identity are unnecessary when we're just talking about lifestyle choices.