Updated: 12/04/18 : 05:39:04
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Call to rename Sligo Traveller halting site 'The Gaza Strip'

A  grassroots campaign s underway to rename a local area in Sligo Town ‘The Gaza Strip’ in a gesture of solidarity with the people of Palestine.

The proposal is that Alma Terrace Traveller halting site in Finisklin would be renamed in honour of the people of Palestine.

According to TheJournal.ie one resident, Bernard Sweeney, told OceanFM that the situation in Palestine bears parallels with Ireland’s history with Britain, and the feelings of marginalisation amongst the Traveller community.

“The name Gaza Strip is in solidarity with the people of Palestine, but also there are slight similarities with how Travellers have been treated in this country – pushed to the margins by the powers that be.”

“It’s not an anti-Jewish campaign, I’m not against any people.

"The reason I feel passionate about it is because there are similarities in the Irish context in itself – how the British came to Ireland, oppressed the Irish and treated the Irish is no more different than what Israel did to the Palestines.

He said that Israel “has killed men, women and journalists”, and referenced a recent incident where soldiers shot a Palestinian; video footage then emerged purporting to show soldiers laughing and cheering after the shooting.

Bernard Sweeney was the first Traveller local election candidate in Sligo
. Photo: SligoToday.ie


Sweeney, who was a candidate in the 2016 general election, said that the campaign was still at grassroots level, and he wasn’t sure if there was public support for the proposal.

Israel is facing mounting questions over the use of live fire that left some 30 Palestinians dead in 10 days of protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip.

Violence spiked again last week, when clashes erupted as thousands protested along the border, and nine Palestinians, including a journalist, were killed.

Yanky Fachler of the Jewish Historical Society of Ireland told OceanFM he was as disgusted as anyone over the loss of life on the Gaza-Israeli border in recent days.

"But I would ask listeners how the Irish State should respond if 50,000 people were whipped up and incited to gather on the Republic’s border with the stated aim of attacking the Irish army?

“I think sometimes people don’t make any connection between what happens overseas with what could happen here.

"I have to say, and I’ve been listening to Bernard and listening to his arguments, I find it cynical, ignorant and sick that Sligo councillors or a grassroots organisation should want to reward a regime that openly calls for the annihilation of Jews.


Councillors are currently being lobbied to support this proposal; Fachler said it would be his advice to councillors not to support the name change.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Sligo County Council said that to name or rename streets, buildings, walkways, requests must be submitted to the Sligo County Council’s place-names committee.

That committee’s recommendations are then brought to the full Council for decision.

“To date, the committee has not received any request to re-name an area in Finisklin, Sligo,” a spokesperson for the council said.