Home > Roma and Irish Traveller housing and health – a public health concern.

Van Hout, Marie Claire and Staniewicz, Teresa (2012) Roma and Irish Traveller housing and health – a public health concern. Critical Public Health, 22, (2), pp. 193-207. DOI:10.1080/09581596.2011.594872.

Roma and Irish Traveller communities have endured centuries of persecution and enforced assimilation, whilst remaining under represented within dominant sedentarist discourses. This has contributed to their suspicion and mistrust of mainstream societies. They have maintained a distinct identity characterised by their Romani or Celtic languages, communal solidarity, close extended family bonds, and cultural traditions surrounding health, morality and social codes. The lives of such groups are grounded in multifaceted poverty stemming from health disparity, inadequate housing provision, and low educational attainment within an intergenerational cycle of social exclusion. This paper discusses health disparities as interlinked with housing situations. It is grounded in the authors’ respective Irish and UK contributions to an EU-wide comparative housing report, ‘Housing Conditions of Roma and Travellers in the European Union’, and associated research materials (commissioned by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2009).

An inclusive and consultative approach is of paramount importance for these groups to address housing and health care provision, grounded within a culturally sensitive assessment of ethnic, individual, and familial needs.

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