National Traveller Health Action Plan Launched

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre welcomes today the long- awaited publication of the National Traveller Health Action Plan.

Pavee Point, alongside other Traveller organisations, has been actively advocating for a National Traveller Health Action plan over the last 12 years and we believe it is vital in order to address Traveller health inequalities.

Mary Brigid Collins, Pavee Point Primary Health Care speaking at the Launch of National Traveller Health Action Plan in the Dept of Health. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

“This is a very important plan,” said Mary Brigid Collins, Pavee Point Traveller Primary Health Care Project.  “Travellers, Traveller organisations and Primary Health Care Projects around the country have worked very hard with the HSE to ensure that this plan has the potential to bring about real positive change for our community.

“This plan is important because it acknowledges the systemic racism and discrimination that has existed for years, it acknowledges the social determinants of health – education, employment and accommodation – and commits to strengthening partnership working between the HSE, Traveller Health Units and local Traveller organisations/Traveller Primary Health Care Projects in the design and delivery of health services.”

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly speaking with Missie Collins, Pavee P oint at launch of National Traveller Health Action Plan in the Dept of Health. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

Health Information

 “Traveller Primary Health Care Projects are the primary source, or often the only source, of information when it comes to health information for Travellers. They bridge the gap between the community, who are facing high health inequalities, and a health service unable to reach and engage in a culturally appropriate manner.

Traveller organisations from Cork, Galway, Donegal, Meath and other counties came to the launch of National Traveller Health Action Plan in the Department of Health, Dublin ©Photo by Derek Speirs

“This approach has been proved time and time again to work, for example, in evidence of higher uptake in screening, antenatal care and immunisation. We also know that 86% of Travellers accessed health information from these projects during COVID-19.”

“But the projects need to be adequately resourced, valued and given parity with HSE colleagues.”

Data on Ethnicity

The new plan also commits to the implementation of an ethnic identifier, which is already government policy, and something Pavee Point sees as crucial to the success of the plan. 

Traveller poet Helen Hutchinson and Mary O Malley, HSE Mid West Social Inclusion.

“How can we monitor progress if we don’t have the data?  How can we identify where gaps in services exist, if we don’t have data?” said Mary Brigid.

 “This plan is clear.  It sets out what has to happen, how that should happen and what the impact will be.  What we need to do now is make sure that it does happen. 

Traveller representatives and Minister of State for Social Inclusion at the Department of Health Frank Feighan

Implementation and Funding

“We will need strong implementation measures with the involvement of high level decision-makers working in partnership with all key stakeholders – Travellers, Traveller Health Units and local Traveller organisations/ Traveller Primary Health Care Projects.   And funding will be vital to the success of the Plan.

Martina Queally, Chief Officer, HSE Community Healthcare East and Chairperson of the National Traveller Health Action Plan Steering Group.

“We welcome the ringfenced €1.3 million allocated to the implementation of this plan this year. This is the first time since 2008 that Traveller health has received any new development funding. However, ongoing significant investment and resources is required if we are to seriously address Traveller health inequalities once and for all.

“Traveller health is a human rights issue.  Inequalities are about how our systems are designed and delivered and this plan gives us a chance to significantly improve our human rights record on Travellers.”  

Link to full plan –

Also see Pavee Point briefing on National Traveller Health Action Plan –