Press Release

Tánaiste announces scholarship from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to a member of the Travelling community in Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today announced that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is providing a scholarship to a member of the Travelling Community in Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy as part of its Access Programme.

“I am sure that the education and employment of Travellers in these disciplines will make a major contribution towards the enhancement of health services for Travellers” stated the Tánaiste.

The Tánaiste was addressing the Traveller Health conference which is being held today in Croke Park. The theme of the conference was primary health care for Travellers and the review of the Traveller Health Strategy.

The contribution of Primary Health Care for Travellers Projects which employ Travellers as Community Health workers, allowing health care to be developed based on the Traveller community’s own values, was acknowledged by the Tanaiste.

The lifetime of the National Traveller Health Strategy expires at the end of 2005 and implementation of the actions in the Strategy is currently being reviewed. The outcome of the Traveller Health Study, to be conducted in 2006, will inform the future direction of health services for Travellers.

The Tánaiste also stated “It has taken time to ensure that the infrastructure and people are in place for the Study to commence but I can assure you that the Study will proceed without further delay and will commence early next year.”

The Tánaiste thanked Travellers and Health Service Executive personnel who had worked with her Department over the past number of years to improve the health status of Travellers.