Members of the Traveller community held a protest outside Leinster House calling on the Taoiseach to address what they say is a denial of their human rights.

The National Traveller Mental Health Network has said that successive governments have failed to address the "dire conditions" in which Travellers are living.

They say their community has no hope of a future due to institutionalised racism and a lack of political will.

The protest follows a similar call for action five months ago, when protesters handed a letter into Leinster House for the Taoiseach.

It sought to highlight mental health problems facing the community.

In December, protesters said a National Traveller Accommodation Agency, An Ombudsman for Travellers and a standalone mental health strategy for the Traveller community would be some of the ways current pressures on the community could be alleviated.

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The National Traveller Mental Health Network is now calling on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to meet representatives and explain "why the situation has been allowed to continue unaddressed with no one answerable or held to account".

Speaking at the protest, Senator Eileen Flynn said: "The Government promised us a National Traveller Mental Health Strategy, to stop our young men and women from dying by suicide. I fear for the future of our young men, who are seven times more likely to die by suicide. Enough is enough".

Senator Eileen Flynn (Credit:

In 2017, a Behaviour and Attitudes study showed that 82% of Travellers had been affected by suicide.

In some areas this was as high as 90%.

Of those surveyed, 90% agreed that mental health was a problem that was common among members of the Traveller community.

Mayma O'Driscoll and Treasa McCarthy (Credit:
Mags Casey (centre) (Credit: