Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (29)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

29. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that despite recognition of Traveller ethnicity in March 2017, infant mortality rates in this group are 3.6 times higher than the rest of the population; her plans to address same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9020/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I must inform the Deputy that my Department has no responsibility with regard to this issue. If the Deputy has any particular questions regarding health issues, including infant mortality, he should address these to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD.

As a lifelong campaigner for equality, social justice and fairness, I regard the recognition of Traveller ethnicity in 2017 as a hugely significant development.

I am concerned that Travellers, and in particular, Traveller children experience many outcomes which are significantly poorer than the average that is experienced and acceptable to the majority of the population of Ireland. This arises in a range of sectors including health, education, employment and accommodation.

This Government is committed to address these disadvantages. My colleagues Minister Charlie Flanagan and Minister of State David Stanton in the Department of Justice and Equality have led the development of the National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021. Minister Stanton chairs the steering group that overseas the implementation of the strategy. This is an encouraging partnership involving the Traveller representative bodies working with the relevant Government Departments and State Bodies.