Government ‘deliberating misleading on Mental Health funding’ – Buckley
Sinn Féin deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has slammed the government for misleading the country in its 2018 Budget document claiming incorrect levels of additional funding had been secured for Mental Health.
The Cork East TD was responding to confirmation by Minister Jim Daly that the €35 million in additional funding announced yesterday included €20 million which was announced in last year’s budget, meaning only €15 million in new funding has actually been allocated.
Deputy Buckley said:
“This is an absolute disgrace. I am disgusted that the government would claim to be prioritising mental health, while so clearly trying to fool the Dáil, the public, and campaigners. It is an insult to those affected by mental health issues.
“Yesterday, the government launched its budget document claiming a €35 million increase in mental health spending. Fianna Fáil were quick to claim responsibility for this, despite the meagre increase representing the absolute minimum of what would be acceptable to keep Mental Health services in operation.
“Today, we discover that, yet again, the government misled the country and Fianna Fáil who criticised the government for this practice last year are clearly complicit. €20 million announced last year was actually repackaged and presented yesterday as new money. In reality, only €15 million of new money has been secured which represents an increase of just 1.8%.
“Instead of a detailed section prioritising mental health and detailing plans to deliver the ‘Vision for Changes’ promised reform, we got two sentences, one of which was a copy and paste from last year with a number which was not correct and they knew it.
“By contrast, Sinn Féin in its alternative budget document produced two pages on mental health, detailing plans for reform and investment of an additional €50.2 million.
“Without real investment, beyond even the false claims of the government, all talk of 24/7 services, a functioning CAMHS, primary care counselling, and tackling dual diagnosis are just that, talk. The government must be held to account on this and so should their supporters in Fianna Fáil. Mental Health is not a game and should not be treated as a political football. It is incredibly serious and this behaviour reveals that the government have no respect for that fact.”