Irish Travelers open up about lifestyle, parenting, and fear of D.S.S. taking children

Only days after the South Carolina Department of Social Services showed up at a Murphy Village home, one family is opening up about the secluded life they are living.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – Only days after the South Carolina Department of Social Services showed up at a Murphy Village home, one family is opening up about the secluded life they are living for fear of losing their children.

Since Social Services took 6 minors from Murphy Village, Stephanie Mulholland say many families have left the state in order to protect their children.

Mulholland says when Social Service workers showed up at her door, with the intention of taking her 11-year-old, they left empty-handed.

“That’s my whole world and without her I don’t know what I would do,” Mulholland told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

She says S.C.D.S.S. has run her family from their home in Murphy Village. “I’m afraid to stay in South Carolina because I’m afraid they will pull up at any minute,” she said.

The Mulholland’s have been staying in hotels in the area, but Landire’s medical conditions are part of the reason they can’t completely leave town. The 11-year-old has Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome, also known as M.M.I.H. or Berdon Syndrome, which includes bladder and colon problems.

The 11-year-old’s mother says the Irish Traveler culture is big on family values and faith. Mulholland says the women rarely let their children out of their sight and, like her daughter, those girls in the state’s custody have never known a life without their family or friends.

“I just miss being there and I miss playing with my friends,” Landrie Mulholland told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “You can’t go outside because you’re scared. I miss it.”

Mulholland says Irish Travelers teach their children right from wrong, just like any parent. “Timeouts or take her TV away. Take her computer away, her phone,” Mulholland said. “Something that she likes…her iPad.”

While the Irish Traveler lifestyle may be different, Mulholland says they are still people and should receive fair and equal treatment.

“We are going to stand-up for what’s right and for what we believe in,” she said. “No matter what.”

For now the Mulholland’s don’t plan to return to their home in Murphy Village, but say neighbors called them on Monday to warn them S.C.D.S.S. was out again.

The families of the 5 girls, who were taken by S.C.D.S.S., are set to appear in court later this week.

We have reached out to S.C.D.S.S. several times, but a spokesperson says they can’t discuss specific cases.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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