Posted: 10 July 2007
Minister Harney Launches All-Ireland Traveller Health Study
The Minister for Health & Children, Ms Mary Harney TD launched the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study at the Croke Park Conference Centre on 10 July 2007.
The Department of Health and Children, in conjunction with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland, has commissioned the UCD School of Public Health and Population Science to conduct the study.
Professor Cecily Kelleher, Head of UCD School of Public Health and Population Science speaking at the launch
The Study, which includes a census of Traveller Population and an examination of their health status, will take between 2 ½ to 3 years to complete.
The UCD project is chaired by Professor Cecily Kelleher, Head of the UCD School of Public Health and Population Science. Professor Kelleher is former director of the National Health and Lifestyle Surveys, SLÁN (Survey of Lifestyles, Attitudes and Nutrition) and the Irish component of the international HBSC (Health Behaviours among School-going Children).
The UCD Project team includes: Professor Leslie Daly, Dr Ronnie Moore, Dr Anthony Staines, Dr Peadar Kirke, Dr Patricia Fitzpatrick, Dr Jean Kilroe, Ms Brigid Quirke and the Project Director, Dr Mary Rose Sweeney.
Pictured at the launch of the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study: Ms Missie Collins, Pavee Point, Minister Mary Harney TD, Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, Dept Health & Social Services, Northern Ireland & Prof Cecily Kelleher, Head of UCD School of Public Health & Population Science
“Traveller health is a priority area and considerable work has been undertaken, in consultation with the interest groups, in commissioning this Study,” said Minister Harney.
“The purpose of the study is to examine the health status of Travellers, to assess the impact of the health services currently being provided, and to identify the factors which influence health status. It will provide a framework for policy development and practise in relation to Traveller health.”
“The Study will develop and extend the information collected in the ‘Travellers Health Status Study – Vital Statistics of the Travelling People’ conducted by the Health Research Board in 1987,” continued Minister Harney.
“Following the results of the study in 1987, a wide range of specific Traveller dedicated health services such as Traveller Health Units and Primary Health Care Projects were developed. It is envisaged that the results of this study will stimulate further development of these services.”
The Health Research Board Study in 1987 highlighted a number of issues of concern in relation to the overall health status of the Traveller population. Of particular concern is the Study’s finding that Travellers of all ages have much higher mortality rates than people in the general population, with Traveller men living on average 10 years less than men in the general population and Traveller women living on average 12 years less than their peers.
The study was launched in the Croke Park Conference Centre and was attended by statutory and voluntary Traveller interest groups from both Northern Ireland and the Republic.