Tánaiste: Hiring staff to help tackle suicide crisis is proving difficult

Tánaiste: Hiring staff to help tackle suicide crisis is proving difficult

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has said difficulties have been experienced in hiring staff to deal with

the country's suicide crisis, said Daniel McConnell, Political Editor.

Speaking in the Dáil today during Leaders' Questions, Ms Fitzgerald insisted dealing with mental health problems in young people is a priority and additional funding has been put in place.

She was responding to Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald who raised the tragic case of Ryan Dempsey, who took his own life in 2014.

Ms McDonald told the Dáil that Ryan repeatedly showed suicidal tendencies and was presented to Accident and Emergency departments, only to be sent away hours later on several occasions.

“We failed him, the health system failed him,” Ms McDonald said, calling on the Tánaiste to ensure such a tragedy does not occur again.

She asked how could he be sent away given how many times he had shown an inclination to harm himself.

Ms McDonald asked the Tánaiste when will young people like Ryan Dempsey “be served and not failed by the system”.

In response, Ms Fitzgerald said she and all deputies in the Dáil sympathise with the family of Ryan Dempsey adding that there can be no place for poor practice in relation to care provision.

She insisted the provision of mental health services is a priority, but added that much work remains

to ensure the system works properly.

Ms McDonald and later Labour leader Brendan Howlin said it was disgraceful that children have to wait up to 18 months to see a child psychologist.

Ms Fitzgerald was also pressed on the need for Ireland to pay the EU an additional €280m on foot of a controversial economic report from the Central Statistics Office, which put economic growth in 2015 at a staggering 26.3%.

Fianna Fáil's Robert Troy said the findings made an international “mockery of Ireland” and called on the Government ensures such anomalies do not occur again.

In response, Ms Fitzgerald reminded Mr Troy that the CSO is an independent body and not under the control of Government.

She said that more work is needed to clarify why the spike in the numbers occured and insisted that the process of deciding how much Ireland will eventually pay is not yet concluded.

Independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry, in a rare occurance, asked questions on behalf of the rural groups of TDs.

Mr Lowry called for greater investment in the rural road network which he says has been decimated since the 2008 crash.

“The people who I represent are angry, annoyed and they feel abandoned. The situation is highly dangerous,” he said. Mr Lowry said in Tipperary alone the capital Budget was slashed by €25m since 2011.

In response, Ms Fitzgerald accepted the budget for roads was “recovering” since the crash but that the captial budget for roads will increase by 50% during the lifetime of this Government.

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