Working Life: Rebecca Loughry, social inclusion specialist

Rebecca Loughry, specialist in social inclusion, HSE and Cork City Council


Our household is fairly lively in the morning as people head out to work, college and school. I am married to Robbie and we have three children, Sarah (24), Jack (18) and Joe (8). I do the school run before heading from home in Bishopstown to City Hall.


This morning, I chaired a meeting of the Traveller Health Unit (THU), comprised of HSE representatives and voluntary Traveller organisations in Cork and Kerry. We meet monthly and work on a plan to improve health outcomes for Travellers. The contrast between Traveller health and that of the general population is stark: Traveller women live on average 11.5 years less and Traveller men live on average 15 years less.


I head to Tory Top Road Library for the launch of the Ballyphehane Community Garden in the library’s enclosed courtyard. It’s a classic example of a joint initiative between the HSE, city council and local community development groups, in this case the Ballyphehane Togher Community Development Project. A range of people took part in the planting, including a children’s creche and the COPE Foundation. It’s important to celebrate these projects — they’re a great example of community spirit and social inclusiveness.


Lunch is a chicken sandwich on the hoof.


We’ve a planning meeting to discuss implementing Pure Cork, a six-year action plan to guide economic and community development in the city. It has a number of goals and one of the areas I’m involved in is Social Inclusion and Equality.

With the help of a great team, I manage the HSE’s social inclusion services which include addiction services, homeless services,Traveller health, inter-cultural and LGBT services. We are currently seeking Rainbow Status for the city.

Cork City Council was the first council in the country to raise the rainbow flag above a public building and the first to come out in support of the marriage equality referendum.


I meet with the various stakeholders to review where we are in terms of providing additional supports in the city for those who suffer from a combination of homelessness, addiction, and mental health disorders. They’re a particularly vulnerable group and while there are good services in place, the demand is growing.


I head home to the kids and the usual ferrying to various activities, homework and dog walking. I enjoy running and hope to do the full Cork City marathon next year.


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