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Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Traveller health: discussion (resumed).

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Traveller health: discussion (resumed). (05 Nov 2019)

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Chairman: Colette Kelleher. The purpose of the meeting is to continue our deliberations on Traveller health. We are meeting representatives of the Cork Traveller Visibility Group, the Health Service Executive and the Irish College of General Practitioners. We all agree that health and ill health are key issues affecting Travellers who have significantly lower levels of life expectancy and higher rates of infant mortality when compared to the general population.


It is not just a small difference. It is a very big difference, and that is why we are having these sessions.


The facts on the level and scale of ill-health among Travellers and the health inequalities experienced by Travellers, as presented to the committee by the submissions and the presentations, are stark in many ways and they speak for themselves. We know from the very well respected - though in need of updating - All Ireland Traveller Health Study that Traveller men's life expectancy is 66 years of age. Traveller men's lives are cut short by 15 years compared to the general population, which is a huge and serious gap. The difference for Traveller women is 12 years. Traveller mortality is three and a half times higher than for the general population.


At our last hearing, we heard that there was a recent health study done in east Limerick that bore out these statistics, and some things stand out. One was that only 29 people in the local Traveller population were over 50 years of age and only three of those were over 65 years of age. We have the All Ireland Traveller Health Study, which is still valid but needs to be updated. We have some local statistics and recent statistics which bear out those trends and those disparities. Traveller babies are almost four times more likely to die compared to babies in the general population.


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