Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that by raiding over €50 million allocated in 2012 for the development of mental health and primary care services the Government is "moving backwards and damaging public healthcare".
"Following the climb-down on the ill-conceived cuts to personal assistant services for the disabled, the Department of Health is now telling the media that it intends to raid the €35 million fund allocated for the long overdue development of community mental health services, as well as funds for the development of primary care.
"This is an appalling and incredible approach. The Government is now moving rapidly backwards and damaging public healthcare. Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch stated in the Dáil on 4 July that the €35 million is 'in my back pocket'. She stated that she had signed off on the delivery of new posts and people were being recruited.
"Has the €35 million now been lifted from Minister of State Lynch's pocket? What of the funding for primary care and the Government's strategy of developing primary care as the best way of taking pressure of our acute hospitals? This Government's health strategy is in tatters.
"As my party's health spokesperson and as a Co-Convenor of the Oireachtas All-Party Mental Health Group I am writing to Minister Lynch seeking an urgent meeting before the resumption of the Dáil."