Travellers die on average thirteen years younger than members of the settled community and suicide rates in the traveller community are more than six times higher than in the settled community.
Against this backdrop, the Tipperary Rural Travellers (TRTP) project launched the results of research they undertook in the South Tipperary traveller community in Tipperary recently.
The research highlighted health problems in the community, strong links between mental health and physical health and very strong links between the general health of travellers and their living conditions.
It also highlights difficulties faced by travellers in accessing health services and major problems in how health information is communicated .
It also examines how health professionals understand or fail to understand the traveller community.
Health care providers, service providers as well as members of the traveller community attended the launch to develop a 5-year strategy involving health and other service providers with the traveller community to tackle serious health issues.
“I am trying to put a key message to statutory agencies on how we can come up with a better plan for the travelling community,” said Margaret Casey (Project Coordinator TRTP).
“We want to have a better country for Irish citizens including Irish Travellers and I think that we can achieve that together with the help of the statutory agencies. The main objective is to improve the health of the travelling community.”
Primary health care workers in Tipperary and Clonmel carried out the research who are traveller women trained to support members of their own community. .