South Estonia campsite operators report being bothered by Irish travelers

Camp ground (photo is illustrative).
Camp ground (photo is illustrative). Source: Pixabay

The arrival and presence of a number of Irish travelers hawking services and wares of dubious quality has caused consternation for local businesses in South Estonia, regional daily Lõuna Eesti Postimees reports.

After a lull during the Covid pandemic, the travelers, Lõuna Eesti says, are back in Estonia and often target campsites and recreation facilities, the owner of one such business, Kalmer Tint, told the paper.

Tint said that he himself had once fallen prey to these characters, who often introduce themselves as asphalters from England – in Tint's case the "asphalting" involved a cursory laying down of a thin rubble layer, over-sprayed with pitch, he said.

Campsites are used for residential purposes by the travelers, who arrive in large numbers in a convoy of vehicles and, Lõuna Eesti reports, often leave in their wake a trail of mayhem, while a common tactic used by the travelers has been to pose as inspectors of some kind, replete with a vehicle with a flashing roof-light – illegal on non-authorized vehicles in Estonia; in any case the vehicle in question has a non-Estonian license plate and its occupants are not conversant in Estonian.

Heading off the unwanted guests can be done more easily by fighting fire with fire, for instance by campsite owners claiming they are fully booked – at present Rally Estonia would provide a good cover here – or that washing machines or other facilities are out-of-order at that time, though in some cases private security firms have had to be hired to evict unwanted visitors who are already installed, the paper reports.

The original Lõuna Eesti piece (link in Estonian) is here.

While selling services and goods door-to-door is not illegal, the Police and Border Guard Board reminds the public that caveat emptor, and recommends not engaging in conversation with any individuals who you may not be sure of – and to call 112, the emergency number, if they do not leave the premises.

Irish travelers are recognized under law both in Ireland and in the U.K. as a distinct ethnic group, and number in the region of tens of thousands in both of those countries.

Similarly to the Romani people with whom they are often conflated yet are not ethnically related to, travelers can be the subject of discrimination themselves, and a European Parliament Committee has found them to be among the most discriminated against groups in Ireland.

Various organizations which lobby for travelers' rights and cultural preservation have emerged since the 1960s.

Their origins are obscured by the mists of time, but travelers are generally thought to have separated from the mainstream population in Ireland, and subsequently the diaspora, while that country found itself increasingly under British rule, from the sixteenth century onward.

Boxer Tyson Fury is reportedly of traveler descent, which hints at another aspect of travelers' image among the wider public, one of pugnacity.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Postimees

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