Ó Caoláin raises failure to release Mental Health €35 million
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D. raised the fact that with over a quarter of the 2016 calendar year now past, the promised additional €35million to be spent on Mental Health advances has not yet been released.
The Cavan Monaghan Dáil Deputy was addressing the need to provide a mechanism in the Dáil chamber to hold the current ‘caretaker’ Government Ministers to account.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“In advance of the last Dáil sitting day, and the election by the Dáil members of a new Ceann Comhairle, I had established with senior Oireachtas staff that it was possible for the Dáil to order its own business. This included a provision for holding the outgoing coalition Ministers to parliamentary scrutiny and accountability during the now extensive hiatus period leading up to the establishment of a new Government.
“I am urging the new Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl to provide for Oral Questions to ‘caretaker’ Ministers on the floor of the Dáil. It is absolutely feasible and absolutely required.”
The Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson instanced the issue of the additional promised funding for Mental Health reform, specifically delivering on the as yet undelivered promises in the all-party supported Mental Health reform document ‘A Vision for Change’.
“The committed additional €35million announced in Budget 2016 has not yet been released, despite the passage of over a quarter of the calendar year. In the absence of the means to hold Minister Varadkar to account in the Dáil chamber, I am prevented from carrying out my electoral mandate as a representative of the people.”
The Sinn Féin T.D. quoted from an Oireachtas Library and Research Service publication earlier this year entitled Parliamentary scrutiny of Government performance in support of his appeal.
The Ceann Comhairle Mr Ó Fearghaíl pressed ahead with the Government Order of Business, making no commitment to address Deputy Ó Caoláin’s important and reasonable request.