AN COMHCHOISTE UM SHAINCHEISTEANNA R TH BHACHTACHA A

An Comhchoiste Um Shaincheisteanna R Th Bhachtacha A-PDF Download

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Business of Joint Committee, Chairman As we have a quorum we are now in public session The quorum for this joint. committee is four because that is the combined quorum of two select committees minus one. provided at least one of the members present is a Member of D il ireann and at least one of the. members present is a Member of Seanad ireann Apologies have been received from Deputy. Colm Brophy I now propose that we go into private session to deal with housekeeping matters. Is that agreed Agreed, The joint committee went into private session at 11 05 a m and resumed in public session. at 11 10 a m,Traveller Mental Health Discussion, Chairman I welcome members and viewers who may be watching proceedings on Oireach. tas TV I am told today s meeting might even go viral It is great that there is such a level of. interest in this serious matter of mental health issues and their effects on the Traveller commu. nity This is the first public session of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Key Issues affecting. the Traveller Community The joint committee was established at the end of May to consider. a number of topics over the next six months As such the clock starts ticking for our work as. a committee today, We are starting our deliberations with mental health on which we will have three sessions. We will then consider health education employment and accommodation and how these issues. impact on the Traveller community As we listen to the voices and undertake our deliberations. I am sure we will realise that all of these matters are interconnected We will however consider. them in their own right, The purpose of today s meeting is to meet and listen to representatives of the Traveller.
Mental Health Network the Irish Traveller Movement Kerry Traveller Health Community. Development Project the Wexford Development Group and Pavee Point Mental health is a. critical issue for the committee to consider Suicide was the cause of 11 of all Traveller deaths. in 2010 according to the all Ireland Traveller study That report is nearly ten years old and the. committee must address the importance of updating that study The statistics were stark then. but we also need to know what the current position is In 2017 seven years after the 2010 study. the national Traveller behaviour and attitudes study found that suicide affected the lives of 82. of Travellers It is not only families but the whole community that is affected by suicide as we. will hear in great detail, While the numbers are shocking even more shocking is that very little changed between. 2010 and 2017 The experiences of racism exclusion and discrimination that members of the. Traveller community face have a profound and deeply troubling impact on mental health With. 90 of Travellers in 2017 agreeing that mental health problems were common in their com. munity action not just listening and talking is urgently required Over the course of the three. sessions we are devoting to mental health we want to understand the scale and impact of the. issue the causes and drivers of mental ill health and crucially how the State and its agencies. respond to the scale of the crisis we have, The Traveller population is approximately 40 000 which is equivalent to the population. 24 SEPTEMBER 2019, of Swords If there was such a high rate of suicide or mental ill health in a town with such a. population we would declare a national emergency It is very important that we understand. this in that context of mental health It is grossly misunderstood and under reported We as. a committee need to understand the horrifying effects the mental ill health epidemic has on. Travellers lives and communities, Second we need to address the causes and the pressure points Mental health cannot be. analysed in a vacuum In the case of the Traveller community it may be looked at as reaction. a reaction to racism to unemployment to persistent discrimination in schools in workplaces. and in the broader society and to poverty, Third the committee will recommend responses and solutions to improve the mental health.
and lives of Travellers, A greater emphasis needs to be placed on Traveller mental health without losing sight of. the impact of internal factors on a person s mental health which include the experiences of dis. crimination internalised racism inequality and the lack of cultural respect Most importantly. however we must listen to the testimonials we will hear today to the Traveller community and. their voices, We have with us today the National Traveller Mental Health Network The Irish Travel. ler Movement Pavee Point the Wexford Traveller Development Group and Kerry Traveller. Health Community Development Project In future sessions we will be hearing more voices. including on 8 October and from health professionals Government Departments the Minister. and the HSE, On behalf of the committee I welcome Mr Martin Reilly from the National Traveller Metal. Health Network Mr Bernard Joyce from the Irish Traveller Movement Ms Brigid Quilligan. Kerry Traveller Health Community Development Project Ms Minnie Connors and Mr An. thony Walsh from the Wexford Traveller Development Group and Mr Patrick Reilly. One of the matters we need to be very careful about is privilege Therefore in accordance. with procedures I am required to draw attention to the fact that by virtue of section 17 2 l of. the Defamation Act 2009 witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evi. dence to the committee They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter. of these proceedings which is mental health and Travellers is to be given They are asked to. respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that where possible they should not criticise nor. make charges against any person persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make that. person identifiable all of which is very important Members are reminded of the long standing. parliamentary practice members to the effect that members should not comment on criticise or. make charges against a person outside of these Houses or on any official either by name or in. such a way as to make him or her identifiable, I remind members and witnesses to turn off their mobile phones because this interferes with. the sound system and the recording I also wish to advise that any submissions or opening. statements that witnesses have made to the joint committee will be published on the committee. website s after this meeting, After the presentations by witnesses there will be questions from members of the joint com.
mittee We will allow all the submissions to be made and will have questions then afterwards. so that we ensure witnesses voices can be heard first Questions will follow. I call on Mr Reilly to make the opening statement for the National Traveller Mental Health. Mr Martin Reilly I ask the committee to bear with me as this is my first time here I. thank the committee for this opportunity I am part of and one of the vice chairpersons of the. National Traveller Mental Health Network This network was set up to work around mental. health issues within the Traveller community As stated in our statement we are Travellers led. by Travellers for Traveller organisations who deal with the mental health issues of Travellers. We were established in March 2019 and since then we have seen issues regarding Traveller. mental health become bigger and worse However I am here to speak about my personal ex. perience of mental health Almost three years ago my son in law committed suicide and left a. young wife and a daughter of three years of age behind It had a mental effect on me my wife. and my family The services are not providing enough care for mental health among Travellers. nationwide We had nowhere to turn to and no one to talk to Where did we go We basically. leaned on each other for support For me it is a deep hurt that no services are available for. Travellers That is where I am in my own mental state I was literally torn to shreds because I. had nowhere to go no one to talk to and no one to look at except to lean on the support of my. wife and children, This does not just affect me it affects the island of Ireland and the Travellers within it I. would like something to be done by the committee to act on the policies and procedures that. will deal with this It is not just about me personally because everybody in Ireland needs it. Chairman On behalf of the committee I want to extend members condolences to Martin. on the loss he still feels While it is hard to see any good happening from such a tragic loss. hopefully what our deliberations are about today is making sure that these terrible losses and. tragedies do not happen in the first place or when they do that there is a good or better re. sponse than the one he received I thank Martin for being so candid and open It was very. strong and very powerful,I call on Mr Joyce to make his opening statement. Mr Bernard Joyce I thank the Chairman Deputies and Senators for the invitation As the. director of the Irish Traveller movement a national membership based Traveller led organi. sation I very much welcome the committee s examination on the matter of Traveller mental. health and the opportunity to present to the committee. Traveller experience of mental health is long established and reflected in Government pol. icy as far back as the Traveller health status study from 1986 Traveller health was a national. Traveller strategy from 2000 to 2005 that led to the Traveller health advisory committee being. set up and recommendations which delivered the most comprehensive audit of Traveller health. referred to as the all Ireland health study in 2010. Despite the Government strategy of 2002 and the benchmark and pathway all Ireland study. no dedicated budget was made available to resource the critical actions within it Since then. there has been no prioritising towards resourcing Travellers distinct mental health outcomes. with a dedicated framework Since the 2010 study there has been an ongoing increase in the. level of suicide in the community and poor health outcomes broadly The national Travellers. sample survey in 2017 found that 90 of all Travellers said that mental health was a problem in. the community Some 82 of Travellers reported having been affected by suicide four in ten of. 24 SEPTEMBER 2019, these being affected by suicide in the wider family 49 among local Travellers or neighbours. and 38 among friends or colleagues creating a multi level effect on the family There are par. ticular concerns regarding the rise of suicide among young women Suicide represented 11. of all Traveller deaths in 2010 most commonly in Traveller men aged 15 to 26 years This rate. is six times higher than in the settled population There has been a steep rise in the incidence of. suicide in the past five years with a distinct emergence among Traveller women The past two. years in particular have been a cause of great concern to us where female deaths have included. children as young as 14 years Reports suggest an increase of suicide among young women. in their teens and early 20s Based on deaths reported to the Irish Traveller Movement by our. members and networks there were at least 30 deaths by suicide in the period January to Au. gust 2019 in Dublin Cork Tipperary Limerick Wexford Clare and Kerry From our figures. though this is an underestimate, The incidence of suicide in the community is outrunning the very low progress to date of. limited strategies such as Connecting for Life the National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015. 2020 where Travellers are included in only one of 39 actions The lack of data by way of a na. tional study or an assessment of need worsens the problem The Central Statistics Office CSO. and National Suicide Research Foundation have a role to play when recording and monitoring. However the CSO does not collect statistics on Travellers There is no specific inclusion of. Travellers as a high risk group in the HSE national service plan 2019. Of grave concern to the community is that in the nine years since the all island health study. which demonstrated a disproportionate level of suicide and poor mental health outcomes there. has been little intervention In 2017 seven years after the study 13 actions towards Travel. ler and Roma mental health were identified as part of a national Traveller and Roma inclusion. strategy The latest progress shows that one of these has been achieved namely the recruitment. of nine mental health service co ordinators to support access to and delivery of mental health. services for Travellers in each community area Progress on other actions has either not been. initiated or is at an early stage of development A budget to deliver on these actions has not. been ring fenced, The policies and strategies to address Traveller mental health are disconnected and given.
the scale of the programme lack a priority focus There is no ring fenced budget to provide. resources There is additional complexity as the actions are dispersed across Departments. There is no advisory group overseeing the implementation and progress and supporting data. collection is inadequate, In our submission we have made a number of key recommendations I can refer to them. later in my reply, Chairman I thank Mr Joyce He painted a stark picture particularly of the trends among. young women and children The estimated figure of 30 deaths by suicide to August is grave. Chairman I welcome members and viewers who may be watching proceedings on Oireach tas TV I am told today s meeting might even go viral It is great that there is such a level of interest in this serious matter of mental health issues and their effects on the Traveller commu nity This is the first public session of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Key Issues affecting the Traveller

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