Press Release

Minister Harney launches the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study

Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health & Children, today (10 July 2007) launched the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study in Croke Park Conference Centre.

The Department of Health and Children in conjunction with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland has commissioned the School of Public Health and Population Science, University College Dublin to conduct the Study.

The Study, which will include a census of Traveller Population and an examination of their health status, will take between 2½ to 3 years to complete.

The launch was attended by statutory and voluntary Traveller interest groups from both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said “Traveller health is a priority area and considerable work has been undertaken, in consultation with the interest groups, in commissioning this Study. 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 practice in relation to Traveller health.”

The Minister added, “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. 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 UCD project team is chaired by Professor Cecily Kelleher. Professor Kelleher is the head of the School of Public Health and Population Science and 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).


View the brief for the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study

View the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study 2007-2010 from UCD

View an outline of Missie Collins speech