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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
PA Senator Eileen Flynn addresses members of the Traveller community at a recent protest outside Leinster House.
# Traveller community
Department of Health not 'strong enough' when it comes to the Traveller community
Independent Senator Eileen Flynn says there is a “mental health crisis” in the community.

AN INDEPENDENT SENATOR has claimed the Department of Health “isn’t strong enough” when it comes to “care of the Traveller community”.

Senator Eileen Flynn, who is the first female Traveller in the Oireachtas, told RTE’s ‘Saturday with Katie Hannon’ that there is a “mental health crisis” in the Traveller community.

She said Traveller women are seven times more like to die by suicide than women in the general population.

Senator Flynn called for the implementation of the National Traveller Health Action Plan, which is included in Programme for Government.

Responding to Senator Flynn, Minister of State at the Department of Health Frank Feighan said “there is a lot of work going on to ensure the implementation of the plan once it is agreed”.

He added that “a lot of things were stalled due to Covid” and that the plan should be agreed “around September”.

However, Senator Flynn accused Deputy Feighan of “winging it” during the interview on ‘Saturday with Katie Hannon’ and added that the “can is being kicked from one Minister to another”.

Senator Flynn also said she had never worked with Deputy Feighan during her time in the Seanad.

Meanwhile, Independent TD Verona Murphy said it was “very difficult to believe that the Minister has not reached out to the Taoiseach’s appointed nominee in the Seanad”.