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Irish Travellers



Shoplifting at Heaton's

Kilkenny, Ireland, Summer 2002 —

I met up with M_ and D_, a couple of Irish Travellers, when I was coming down the laneway to High Street from Superquinn grocery store's side exit.

We said hi. M_ stopped me. She asked about "that guy," where I worked, and she described him. White shirt... Kevin? No, not Kevin. "A moustache," D_ said, describing a goatee with her hand.... Trevor. He was the manager at Heaton's, a retail shop (department store) in Kilkenny.

"Trevor, yeah," said M_. He had said she'd stolen something on "that day, Monday or Tuesday — Tuesday." And she hadn't, she said.

I told her that I considered shoplifting none of my business, that it wasn't my job to do anything about it, and that I didn't want to do anything about it. (I worked in the gents' department and on a backup cash register.)

She said "I've to go talk to the Gards [police] on Friday, and I'm not worried about it because I've got nothing to hide," she said. And she wondered: if T_ was so sure that she'd stolen, then why didn't he stop her outside of the shop?

I told her that I did remember that day. When I'd gone to talk to the manager, they'd all said to go away, and they were all acting like they were getting together a posse.

"It's really none of my business," I said after a bit of conversation, "but you do steal."

"Yeah," she said; "but I didn't that day."

D_, the young one, said "Yeah, that's right, it's none of your business—I'll bet the head off ya." ('bet' means 'beat' in Irish English.)

M_ and I laughed a bit. We watched as D_ wagged her little ass up the lane, then we said our goodbyes.