Traveller & Roma Men Score a Goal for Better Health

Pavee Point’s annual Men’s Health Day 2023 was a fun event with plenty of health benefits.

Fourteen football teams from around the country played each other in a football tournament and this included a team from the Health Service Executive and 5 Roma teams.  Golf also featured as did outdoor games such as tossing the horseshoe, Giant Jenga and Connect 4.                                         

Tournament Results Here

The HSE team took part in the football tournament for the first time. Playing here against Sligo Traveller Support Group. Photo Tommy Clancy.

“Men’s health day is about creating a space where Traveller & Roma men can get together and take positive action in relation to health,” said Michael Collins, Traveller Men’s Health Worker, Eastern Region, Traveller Health Unit.  “Playing sport is obviously of benefit but we also organise health checks and the men can get blood pressure and diabetes checks and find out about heart health and cancer screening,” said Michael

Learning about alcohol units with the Marie Keating Foundation. Photo Tommy Clancy.


“Getting health checks is something many Traveller men may not come across in their day to day life and can help start a conversation about people’s overall health. This helps our sense of empowerment and our self-esteem.”  

Traveller Men’s Health Workers have been engaging with men at a local and regional level in organising fitness activities but also help to break down the stigma about talking about health and mental health. 

Golf Ireland got a great reception at our event. Photo Tommy Clancy
Making connections playing Connect. Photo by Tommy Clancy
Playing giant Snakes and Ladders. Photo by Tommy Clancy.


“Mental health is a huge issue for Traveller men with a suicide rate that is 7 times the national average (All Ireland Traveller Health Study 2010),” said Pa Reilly, Eastern Region, Traveller Health Unit Mental Health Initiative.   “Creating spaces where Traveller men can talk about mental health and move away from any stigma is crucial,” he said.  “We will be promoting our dedicated mental health information website for young people –,” added Pa. 

Learning about Traveller culture and identity are the Finglas Addiction Support Team.

Drug addiction services are also participating in this event as substance use within the Traveller community is reaching crisis proportions. 

Although Travellers make up less than 1% of the population, Travellers represented 3% of treatment episodes in addiction services in 2021.  Substance use treatment in the community increased from 8 to 14.8% between 2014 and 2021 and there was a staggering 525% increase in cocaine treatment in the same years (Health Research Board).

People were also moved to music on the day. Photo by Tommy Clancy.

“Substance use often arises as a result of Travellers’ experiences of poverty, exclusion, racism and discrimination and the trauma that is caused and is a significant factor in mental health,” said John Paul Collins, Pavee Point Drug and Alcohol Programme.                                                                      

Learning the traditional Traveller game – tossing the horseshoe.


“We want to build partnerships between health providers and Travellers to improve health outcomes and fight health inequalities,” said John Collins, Men’s Health Worker, Traveller Health Unit in the Eastern Region. “And we want to work with service providers in developing services that are appropriate for Travellers. “The National Traveller Health Action Plan was published last year and we hope implementation will start soon.  We are looking forward to Travellers and Traveller men being involved in the design and delivery of services to Travellers,” said John Collins.  

The highs – Celebrating with the winning team – Raja.
Runners up the Mighty Men Mayo Team who lost on penalties.