Director for Advocacy at the Cork Traveller Visibility Group, Breda O’Donoghue said that suicide in the Traveller community does not discriminate on grounds of age or gender and has taken root with tragic consequences in Cork City.
“Suicide has taken the lives of people in our community from the age of 11 to the age of 74,” she said.
“Since February, and in the northside of the city alone, we have lost four people between the ages of 20 and 30. In recent years there has been a very broad age spectrum with children of 12, 13, and 14 years of age all losing their lives to suicide. The youngest we have heard of has been 11 but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been younger. What’s shocking is that nobody is shocked anymore.”
“We can’t bury any more of our children or loved ones,” she said. “How many more coffins are we going to have to carry before somebody stands up and listens?”
Former Cork North Central Independent election candidate TJ Hogan said wide-ranging change and Government support for the Traveller community are needed urgently.
“The community is washing itself out,” he said.
“Young people don’t see a future in Ireland. There are people from the age of 12 right up to grandfathers and grandmothers who are dying by suicide in the community.”
Members of the Traveller community protested outside Leinster House last Tuesday to have mental health among this cohort prioritised as a human right.