People who identify as Roma are part of a minority ethnic group. This group originated in Northwest India, but have lived for centuries mainly in eastern and central Europe. The Council of Europe estimates that there are 10-12 million Roma in Europe, constituting the largest minority group in the EU.
Although Roma communities share similar cultural practices, language and history, they cannot be seen as a homogenous group. For centuries, Roma have fled violence and persecution in many countries in Western and Central Europe. Today, many Roma have experienced social exclusion, discrimination, forced evictions and expulsions from their country of origin.
There are about 5,000 Roma in Ireland, but there is little data available as Roma ethnicity is not collected in the Census or any other Government statistics. Many experience disadvantages in accessing education, health services and employment and experience racism and gender inequality.
Working in Partnership
We work in partnership with other HSE services, other statutory agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Traveller representative groups such as Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, to improve the health status of members of the Roma community.
Ireland's National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 is particularly relevant to ongoing work, as are the recommendations from the EU about effective Roma integration measures.
We are also represented on the National Traveller/Roma Inclusion Steering Group, which was set up by the Department of Justice and Equality.
A consultation process to develop a new National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy is underway. It is led by the Traveller Policy Unit in the Department of Justice. You can access the Draft Strategy here.
Tallaght Roma Integration Project (TRIP)
We fund the Tallaght Roma Integration Project (TRIP) which is run by the Safetynet Primary Care Network Tallaght Hospital – a mobile Roma GP (family doctor) service to members of the Roma Community in South West Dublin. It provides:
- screening for chronic and acute illnesses;
- childhood vaccinations; and
- ante-natal care.
It also provides cultural mediation, interpreting services and links to other services.