Love is in the air in Rathkeale this Christmas, with at least 14 couples set to say ‘I do’ in the local church over the festive period.
With large numbers of Travellers returning to their West Limerick hometown for Christmas, many take the opportunity to tie the knot during their visit. Stretch humvees and horse-drawn carriages have been a common sight on the streets during the past two weeks - alongside the many high-powered UK registered cars that have arrived into the town.
A special ‘triage clinic’ has also been opened to accommodate the population increase. The clinic opened on December 19 and will remain in place until January 5 from 10am to 6pm daily.
But, while the clinic is open to everyone living in the Rathkeale area, many locals are not happy with what they see as special facilities being put in place for Travellers. “This is being laid on as a special facility for people arriving in high-powered vehicles, who are driving around the town at a crazy rate,” said Cllr Stephen Keary.
“Everyone else has to go to their GP or avail of the Shannondoc service if they get ill. Why are they being privileged?” the Fine Gael councillor asked.
And he warned that the large number of unofficial halting sites could create problems: “They are living in haphazard parking lots, with no water or sewage facilities on these sites and they are at risk of fire or serious accident with a lot of gas cylinders being used and electricity cables. It is an accident waiting to happen.”