120 person wedding party in Longford was "very disappointing", says Pavee Point Co-Director 1 month ago

120 person wedding party in Longford was "very disappointing", says Pavee Point Co-Director

He said the group has been "very clear" in its message to adhere to public health guidelines.

Martin Collins, Co-Director of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre has said that the 120 person wedding after-party in county Longford was "very disappointing".

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He told Newstalk Breakfast that the event was "very concerning" and encouraged people to stick to current public health guidelines.

On Wednesday, over 100 guests gathered at the wedding after-party where a 2,000 sq ft marquee had been erected.

Gardaí attended the scene on the outskirts of the midlands town to ensure the structure was dismantled after local authority chiefs secured an emergency Circuit Court order.

"I don't think anybody at this stage can plead ignorance, the message has been very clear, and it has been very consistent in terms of public health guidelines, and all large gathering must be avoided at all costs," he said.

"We're living in a global health pandemic, almost 5000 people in Ireland alone have lost their lives to Covid-19.

"I am very alarmed, I am very concerned, and I would plead with members of my own community to please display a little bit more responsibility and protect yourselves, protect your family, protect your community from this lethal, lethal disease.

"Unfortunately, we will have more deaths in our community, and in wider society, unless everybody makes the collective effort, so it is very alarming. It is very disappointing."

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Collins added that the organisation had been "very consistent" in its message to follow public health guidelines.

"Our message in Pavee Point is very clear and very consistent, please respect the public health guidelines, this is about saving lives," he continued.

The Co-Director also explained a possible reason why there has been a significant amount of cases in the Traveller community during Ireland's third wave of the pandemic.

He said that the Traveller community is a "vulnerable group" with oftentimes "poor living conditions" and severe "overcrowding" within living sites.

"Many travellers are living without running water, so many travellers can't even comply actually with public health guidelines that you have to wash your hands frequently, multiple times a day."

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Collins called on local authorities to put in place basic essentials such as running water, electricity and improved sanitation access within Traveller living sites to help slow the spread of the disease.