Minister’s belated admission shows government’s words on mental health & suicide ring hollow – Ó Caoláin
Commenting on the admission in a newspaper interview today by Minister for State Kathleen Lynch that the €35 million allocated for mental health and suicide in Budget 2012 was diverted elsewhere, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said;
“Minister of State Kathleen Lynch, when challenged by me in the Dáil, claimed that the additional and much trumpeted €35 million allocated for mental health and suicide prevention in Budget 2012 was ‘in her back pocket’. It became clear during the year that this money was diverted elsewhere in the health services, to plug gaps created by the overall underfunding and mismanagement of the health services by the coalition.
“The Minister of State’s belated admission that most of the €35 million was diverted and most of the promised new posts were never filled shows that the government’s words on the importance of addressing mental health and suicide ring hollow.
“They have repeatedly pointed to the importance of primary care and early intervention in mental health, yet their promised initiatives have not materialised in 2012. The same promise and the same allocation – €35 million – has been made for 2013.
“I will be urging all concerned, especially the Oireachtas All-Party Mental Health Group, to maintain pressure on this government to deliver on its promises on mental health and on the growing tragedy of suicide in our society.”