Travellers in Clare who are experiencing any type of health problem should access the new health drop-in centre in Ennis, according to the Mayor of Clare, Councillor Tony Mulcahy. The new centre, which is run by three qualified community health workers, who are also members of the Travelling community, was officially opened by Councillor Mulcahy last week.
Councillor Mulcahy said that the issue of Traveller health needed to be addressed, particularly mental health. He expressed concern that, like settled men, some male Travellers often neglected a health problem, which had the potential to get far more serious when no treatment was administered.
“I think this is an excellent, worthwhile project, which will go a long way towards addressing health problems experienced by Travellers.
“This centre will only be effective if it used by the Travelling community and I would urge all Travellers to avail of the facilities as soon as they have a problem,” he said.
The centre at the Clonroad Business Park opens each Wednesday from 10am to 12.30pm and will provide Travellers with health information and advice, as well as group activities on health matters.
Three community health workers, Ann Keenan, Clarecastle and Catherine McCarthy and Kathleen Sherlock from Ennis took part in a four-year training programme provided by Clarecare.
This programme, which is funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Traveller Health Unit, was hosted by the Ennis Community Development Programme (ECDP), since last January.
ECDP programme co-ordinator, Sandra Cox explained that the purpose of the initiative was to improve Traveller health, as health statistics had shown that Travellers tended to live 10 or 12 years less than the settled community due to poor health.
“The programme promotes positive mental health, awareness of suicide and the benefits of having a good diet. We offer advice and act as an advocate for Travellers.
“We help them to access health services, help them to fill out forms and provide them with lists of general practitioners and public health facilities,” she said.
Research within the local Traveller community, under the Strategy for co-ordination of Public Services to the Traveller community in Clare, identified a need for a primary health care programme.
It was also found that trained community health workers from the Traveller community would increase the likelihood of Travellers accessing the programme.
For further information, contact 065 6823968.