Traveller community to protest outside Leinster House over ‘dire’ living conditions
“If you’re a young person and you can’t get an education and you can’t get employment and you’re facing discrimination every day of your life and if you’ve a family trauma in your life, that’ll all build up”
Members of the Traveller community will hold a protest outside Leinster House today calling on the Taoiseach to recognise their right to access appropriate mental health services.
The National Traveller Mental Health Network said that successive governments have failed to address the "dire conditions" in which Travellers are living.
Protesters wrote a letter to Micheál Martin five months ago seeking to highlight mental health problems facing the community. They have urged Mr Martin to address what they say is a denial of their human rights.
The group held a similar protest outside the Dáil in December last year to mark International Human Rights Day.
Activist and chairperson of the National Traveller Mental Health Network, Mags Casey, said the community is “on their knees”.
Ms Casey said discrimination has caused a “mental health crisis” in the community.
“If you’re a young person and you can’t get an education and you can’t get employment and you’re facing discrimination every day of your life and if you’ve a family trauma in your life, that’ll all build up,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
The National Traveller Mental Health Network is now calling on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to meet representatives and explain "why the situation has been allowed to continue unaddressed with no one answerable or held to account".
In 2017, a Behaviour and Attitudes study showed that 82pc of Travellers had been affected by suicide. In some areas this was as high as 90pc.
Of those surveyed, 90pc agreed that mental health was a problem that was common among members of the Traveller community.