Joint Oireachtas Committee on Issues Affecting Traveller Community to Hold First Meeting

Senator Colette Kelleher, who was one of the initial advocates for the formation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues Affecting the Traveller Community, will chair the first meeting of the new Committee tomorrow, Tuesday, 24th September, at 11. The meeting will take place in committee Room 2, Leinster House, Dublin 2.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Senator Colette Kelleher said: “I called for the establishment of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues Affecting the Traveller Community because it is vitally important that the scale of the challenges facing this community are officially recognised and acted upon.  This includes mental health, health, education, employment and accommodation, all of which will be examined by the committee.

“The first hearing of the Committee will focus on mental health.  There is a mental health epidemic amongst Travellers in Ireland. A recent National Health Survey by Behaviour and Attitudes found that 90% agree that mental health problems are common among the community. 7 out of 10 believe that mental health has worsened over the last 5-10 years. 4 in 10 are concerned for their own mental health. The All Ireland Traveller Study found that the suicide rate for traveller women is six times higher than for settled women. It is critical that legislators are made aware of the scale and impact of mental health issues in the Traveller Community, and develop measures to address this problem as a matter of urgency.”

The Committee will hear from Traveller Mental Health Network, The Irish Traveller Movement, Pavee Point, Kerry Traveller Group and the Wexford Traveller Development Group at its first public hearing.  The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues Affecting the Traveller Community has a reference period of six months. It will examine the State response to issues affecting the Traveller Community and recommend further steps that can be taken to improve the situation.

Further information is available at: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/committees/32/committee-on-key-issues-affecting-the-traveller-community/.