Traveller health inequalities as legacies of exclusion
in Immigrants as outsiders in the two Irelands
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Although not immigrants, the experiences of Travellers – an Irish ethnic minority who have experienced intergenerational racism and discrimination – contextualise the kinds of barrier potentially faced by some immigrants included in this book, particularly in light of the failure of the Irish state to address their experiences as outsiders. A child born to Traveller parents in 2016 is three and a half times less likely to reach their first birthday, and if he or she survives, can expect to live up to fifteen years less than a child born to settled parents. This child ismore likely to develop chronic health conditions, suffer from poor mental health and die by suicide. Health inequalities are indicators of larger social relations that produce asymmetrical differences. They are historically, politically, socially and culturally constructed. In order to understand how Traveller health continues to be phenomenally poorer than that of the settled community, this chapter will examine how mainstream and targeted policies and services have failed to meaningfully address Traveller health inequalities in Ireland. It argues that mainstreaming approaches to health, whereby service providers are ‘oblivious’ to difference, further excludes Travellers from services as they are rendered invisible and their particular needs remain overlooked.

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