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 Maria Carnicer:

The idea of cultural competency training needs to be embedded in the educational system right through from primary school to university and beyond. Exchange House Ireland recently met with new and trainee psychiatrists to work with them to develop cultural competency. It cannot only be done at elementary school level, but needs to be embedded in all aspects of the education system throughout Ireland. Only then will it begin to make a difference.

Accommodation is a major factor for people accessing services in Exchange House Ireland. The vast majority of people involved in our 3,399 service provisions to date came in due to an accommodation issue. We then begin to unpack those cases and ask questions from a culturally competent positioning, which reveals the lack of many other pieces in their lives. Education alone will not fix this, because of what happens to young people even when they have achieved third level education. Getting a job is not always an option for people from the Traveller community, who are often denied even an interview because of their last name. We need something more than just embedding cultural competency and having access to education. There needs to engagement and work opportunities that foster development in order that these individuals can either develop their own business plans or work in organisations to which they can bring something more.


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