irish families travelled to see Pope already

Next month, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will make an historic state visit to the United Kingdom. Reports abound that the visit will be undersubscribed. However several families from Ireland have travelled to Birmingham to be close to the Beatification. These families have set up a camp near to the site and are from the Irish Traveller community.

What are Travellers?

Travellers are an indigenous minority who, historical sources confirm, have been part of Irish society for centuries. Travellers long shared history, cultural values, language, customs and traditions make them a self-defined group, and one which is recognisable and distinct. Their culture and way of life, of which nomadism is an important factor, distinguishes them from the sedentary (settled) population.

from Irish Traveller Movement

I am disappointed to see the coverage of this by the Catholic Herald:

Around 16 gypsy families moved on to a field next to Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, Birmingham, on Tuesday, telling a local councillor they were in the city to attend Pope Benedict XVI’s open-air Mass in Cofton Park on September 19.

I believe that the use of the adjective ‘gypsy’ is found to be offensive by many people, and I am writing to the editor to seek this being amended.

If you share my view, please email Luke Coppen on

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