Much controversy followed the recent appearance on TV of John Connors, the quiet-spoken star of the hit crime drama Love/Hate and advocate for Traveller rights on Ireland’s Late Late Show, writes Bernard Rorke on the European Roma Rights Centre blog on April 6th 2016.  Connors gave a moving account of the impact of racism upon his community, but what was controversial and sparked media debate was the hectoring and shrill reaction of the show’s host, Ryan Tubridy to hearing a few home truths about the state of hate in Ireland.  Connors quietly described his direct experiences of prejudices past and present. He explained how hateful is the K-word, “knacker” used day in, day out in Irish society about Travellers: “When somebody calls me a knacker, I jump immediately and I feel fear … fear and shame, because straight away, you’re made to feel different. Straight away, you’re marginalized … it’s a fearful thing.” He recalled as an eight-year-old being grabbed and thrown to the ground by a teacher who called him a “dirty, smelly knacker,” and the early realization that as a Traveller he would always be blamed … read more

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