Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee On Key Issues Affecting The Traveller Community

Traveller Mental Health: Discussion (Resumed)

Ms Bridget Kelly:

On the issue of education, the Irish Traveller Movement has the yellow flag programme. It is rolled out in some schools but it should be rolled out in all schools nationally. It should be compulsory to have the yellow flag programme run in all schools. It covers different diverse ethnic minorities and provides a good understanding of Traveller culture.

It also gives one a good understanding of Traveller culture. The Government needs to look at implementing the Yellow Flag programme in all primary schools. However, there also needs to be willingness from the schools to implement it. Some schools do not want to engage in this programme, so it should be compulsory for all schools to roll it out.

I refer to accommodation, which is a major issue for the Traveller community nationally. I know there is a housing crisis for settled people and society in general, but there has always been a housing crisis for the Traveller community. We have seen a huge increase in homelessness for everyone, but many more Traveller families are going into homeless accommodation because of the lack of Traveller-specific accommodation being built to meet their cultural needs. Traveller accommodation budgets are also not being drawn down by local authorities. This is having a huge impact on Travellers' mental health and well-being. If someone does not have a roof over their head or access to proper facilities, it will have a major impact on their mental health and well-being as well as that of their children.

Cultural awareness training is being delivered, although I can only refer to what is being done in Galway. We deliver Traveller-friendly training to all the hospitals, as well as to midwifes and nurses. We are also working with State bodies to see if we can roll out cultural competency training. We need them to come on board. It should also be compulsory for all State agencies, including the health services, to have cultural competency training, which we are open to delivering.


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