OF the Traveller community in East Limerick, there are only three Travellers over the age of 65 — less than one per cent of the Traveller population in the area.
This was one of the stark findings of the East Limerick Traveller Health Baseline Needs Assessment. The study also shows that only 29 of the Traveller population in East County Limerick is over the age of 50, which is only six per cent of the Traveller community in the area.
The assessment was undertaken as a collaborative study between the HSE and Ballyhoura Development, supported by Sheila Cahill Consulting, between March and June of this year.
The purpose of the assessment was to identify the health and wellbeing needs of Travellers living in East County Limerick. Although national figures and statistics are available, until now there has been no definitive research undertaken into the health needs of Travellers in the region.
The study sought to establish a clear demographic profile of the Traveller community in East Limerick, and to examine a baseline of the health status of Travellers, particularly areas in need of attention, as well as identifying the key factors, which influence and affect the physical and mental health of Travellers.
Ballyhoura Development manager Eileen O’Keeffe said that the link between health and the inequalities that exist in housing and education available to members of the Travelling Community cannot be ignored.
“With over 90 per cent of Travellers living in East Limerick participating in the assessment, this report can be regarded as a definitive study which will help to inform the development and implementation of appropriate responses and solutions to the diverse range of health needs amongst the Traveller Community, as outlined in the report,” she explained.
One of the key findings of the assessment is that less than 50 per cent of Travellers living in East Limerick were identified in the 2016 census, meaning that the Traveller community in the area is twice as large as was previously recorded.
The HSE Traveller Health Unit will now consider the findings of the assessment.