Coalition ‘100% committed’ to resourcing mental health

Mental Health Minister Helen McEntee insists the Government is “100% committed” to fully resourcing the sector after concerns were raised over decade-old plans not being implemented.

Coalition ‘100% committed’ to resourcing mental health

The Fine Gael TD made the comment as the party said it would support opposition calls for increased resources, staff, and the creation of a multi-year budget to properly ringfence available funds.

For the third time since the election, the Dáil sat last night to debate a Fianna Fáil motion on the need to address chronic service gaps nationwide.

Fianna Fáil mental health spokesman James Browne said there is an “urgent” need to review funding as both staff and patients in the sector “feel ignored and abandoned”.

The position was backed by party health spokesman Billy Kelleher, who said €35m budgets “have been consistently pilfered” for other areas on an annual basis.

Confirming that the Government would be supporting the motion, Ms McEntee stressed that Fine Gael is already “100% committed” to fully reforming the sector.

Citing the fact €35m is due to be “invested” in the system next year, Ms McEntee said the issue remains a priority.

“There is a momentum behind this, people are 100% committed to implementing Vision for Change. Other lives will be lost; lives have already been lost,” said Ms McEntee, whose father Shane died by suicide in December 2012.

During the course of the debate, TDs across the political divide — including Sinn Féin TD and suicide prevention campaigner Pat Buckley, who has lost relatives to suicide; and Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony — highlighted their own experiences of suicide in Ireland.

Urging people not to “play the blame game”, Fianna Fáil’s Eugene Murphy told colleagues he binned his planned speech after hearing their views.

“When I talk about this debate, I think of Deputy McEntee, I think of Deputy Buckley. I know you’re sincere, I know your heart’s in the right place,” he told the Dáil.

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