Preparations are now well underway for the first all island Census of Traveller Population to be carried out from next month (14th October).
The Census, which will include information on accommodation, is part of the All-Ireland Traveller Health Status Study launched last year.
Only Travellers who self ascribe will be included in the Census. This means that individuals who do not wish to be identified as Travellers will not be included.
Irish Travellers are a small indigenous minority with a unique shared history, culture, customs and language. Their distinctive lifestyle and culture, based on a nomadic tradition makes them an identifiable group, both to themselves and others. It is 20 years since Traveller health was examined in the South of Ireland by the Health Research Board (HRB). Those findings highlighted that Travellers of all ages have much higher mortality rates than people in the general population, with differentials in life expectancy averaging eleven years less than the general population.
No national research has been conducted on Travellers since 1987 until now. The All Ireland Health Study has been commissioned by the Department of Health & Children and the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland) and builds on the study of 1987 by the Health Research Board. It will be conducted by the School of Public Health and Population Science in UCD. It is the first study of Travellers' health status and health needs that involves all Travellers living in the island of Ireland and will be completed in 2010.
The study will identify health needs as identified by Travellers and health services providers and measure the health status of Travellers. The findings from the study will provide a framework for policy development and practice in relation to Travellers. The HSE, e.g. Traveller Health Units, will be playing a very important role in the study. Our Public Health Nurse colleagues who provide services to travellers will also be involved. The Maternity Hospitals and Registrars Office will likewise be involved. The Social Inclusion team in the OCEO are co ordinating for the HSE and are working closely with UCD on preparation, planning and logistics for the study.
For further information visit the UCD web site www.UCD.ie/phps/research/trav.htm or email socialinclusion@HSE.ie
Last updated on: 01 / 08 / 2008