Irish Travellers

Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced formal recognition for Travellers as a distinct ethnic group within the State on 1st March 2017, thus giving formal recognition to Travellers unique heritage, culture and identity.

Travellers are particularly disadvantaged in terms of health status and access to health services. Further information and resources can be found below:

Traveller Projects and Resources


Traveller Mental Health

Health Inequality

The health inequalities that lead to such poor health status are highlighted in the findings of the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (2010). These include:

  • Traveller women live on average 11.5 years less than women in the general population;
  • Traveller men live on average 15 years less; and
  • the number of deaths among Traveller infants is estimated at 14.1 for every 1,000 live births compared to 3.9 for every 1,000 live births among the general population;
  • The study also showed that deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and suicides increased in Travellers compared to the general population. 

The strategic direction of Traveller health care is outlined in the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy.                                              

Primary Health Care Projects

We provide support to a range of primary care projects and other initiatives for Travellers. This includes the ongoing work of the HSE Traveller Health Units. The Traveller Health Units work to:

  • enhance Traveller health status;
  • improve the capacity of mainstream health services to respond to Traveller needs; and
  • respond to the social determinants that impact Traveller health.

Primary Health Care for Travellers Projects (PHCTPs) established a model for how Travellers could take part in developing health services. Travellers work as community health workers, and this allows primary health care to be developed based on the Traveller community’s own values and perceptions. This helps to achieve positive outcomes with long-term effects.