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'The very pests of society': The Irish and 150 years of public health in England

Scally, Gabriel


Gabriel Scally


In the context of efforts to reduce health inequalities, the health status of the Irish in England should be a major subject for concern. As England's longest standing and most numerous ethnic minority, the Irish have at times been regarded as a public health threat and have repeatedly been stereotyped in literature and image. There has also been a failure to recognise and celebrate the contributions to the improvement of public health made by members of the irish community such as Kitty Wilkinson. In recent years alarming evidence has emerged that the mortality of Irish people living in England appears to have worsened in successive generations. Comparison of available data on some of the key determinants of ill health shows that the Irish in England have a worse profile than the Irish living in Ireland. A concerted programme of action is needed to investigate why the irish should have such poor health status and to develop a programme to address it.


Scally, G. (2004). 'The very pests of society': The Irish and 150 years of public health in England. Clinical Medicine, 4(1), 77-81.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Publication Date Jan 1, 2004
Journal Clinical Medicine
Print ISSN 1470-2118
Publisher Royal College of Physicians
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 77-81
Keywords determinants, ethnic minorities, health inequalities, public health, irish
public health
Public URL
Publisher URL