Find latest news from the HSE on

Launch of Reports focused on Roma community in Co. Tipperary

Organisations are working together with a view to improving the health and wellbeing of the Roma community in Co. Tipperary.

The HSE, Tipperary County Council and Youth Work Ireland Tipperary have launched a Needs Assessment, in addition to a Report on the work of the Health and Accommodation pilot project since its establishment in 2022. 

The project identified just over 300 people of the Roma community who are living in Co. Tipperary (about 200 of whom are in the South Tipperary area), with the estimated Roma population throughout the county being some 700.

The reports published this week provide detailed information on the Roma community locally, particularly in relation to their housing situation and other key social determinants of health.

Access to adequate accommodation (including insecurity of tenure, poor housing conditions, homelessness and overcrowding) are of particular concern and is identified as the single biggest issue. The reports also provide an evidence base from which to plan an effective response to improving the situation of the Roma community in Co. Tipperary.

The HSE’s social inclusion services in its South East and Mid West Community Healthcare organisations secured funding (from the HSE’s National Social Inclusion Office) for a pilot project to undertake a needs assessment to examine the housing situation of Roma families who were engaged with the HSE’s Roma Health Project. This led to a partnership approach between Youth Work Ireland Tipperary, HSE Social Inclusion and Tipperary County Council. In addition to undertaking a needs assessment, the pilot project actions also included a focus on the Public Sector  Equality and Human Rights Duty as a lever to address Roma health and accommodation needs.

The report findings pointed to the need for a concerted policy response to reduce inequalities for the Roma community. The findings also highlight the importance of providing advocacy supports to Roma community, in particular to assist Roma to understand what their basic rights and entitlement are and to assist them to access and navigate a range of services.

While the Needs Assessment found higher levels of employment among the Roma in comparison to data from the 2018 national Roma Needs Assessment, unemployment levels are nonetheless high. In a number of instances, unemployment is coupled with an absence of Social Protection supports in households and complications arising from not being able to comply with Habitual Residence Conditions.

The reports found that households had reported that they had been unsuccessful in an application for a Medical Card, due to not being able to provide evidence of paying rent – which in some cases meant being above an income threshold in eligibility.

Integrated pathways of care were developed to support Roma experiencing homelessness as well as those living in insecure/unsuitable accommodation.

Speaking at the launch held in the Ballykisteen Hotel, Limerick Junction, Tipperary, Suzanne Nolan (HSE/South East Community Healthcare Regional Roma Health) said:  

“The HSE, in trying to support equal access to health services for people from vulnerable groups, is very pleased with the active partnerships we have developed in Co. Tipperary. We are beginning to see results of our engagement with members of the Roma community. Organisations, such as those in the public sector, are responding sensitively and effectively to people who aren’t as socially included as others around them in Co. Tipperary.”

“Our wider project had its origins in reaching out to the Roma community during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily to identify their health and information needs at the time. We were able to build on what was being done already through supporting health literacy, improving access and developing health service pathways. The local authority, Youth Work Ireland and through our  project worker, we worked in various ways to raise awareness have helped to address the adverse social determinants of health faced by the Roma community and for advances to be made in improving lives for individuals and their families.” 

Congratulating everyone involved in contributing to the reports, Anna Marie Lanigan (Head of Service/Primary Care, HSE/South East Community Healthcare) says:

“The broadening of diversity resulting from the rich mix of cultures within Ireland in recent times has significantly enriched the fabric of social, economic and cultural life here.”

“At the same time, this emerging diversity presents challenges for health services when responding to the needs of people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The manner in which partnerships across public service bodies, entities engaged in the community generally and people within the Roma community itself in Co. Tipperary have been effective in identifying needs, raising awareness of same and identifying ways in which improvements can come about (as these reports have illustrated) are a template for facing up to such challenges elsewhere.”

Last updated on: 29 / 05 / 2024