Mental Health budget increase ‘less than Inheritance Tax break’ – Buckley
Sinn Féin TD and Deputy Spokesperson for Mental Health Pat Buckley has slammed Fianna Fáil for opposing his amendment to their motion which would have demanded a significant increase in mental health funding. The Cork East TD made his comments after members of Fianna Fáil sided with the government to oppose his amendment to their motion which called for a review of spending only.
Deputy Buckley said:
“The government have proposed just €15 million in additional funding for mental health in 2017. That is an increase of just 1.8% and just over half what was recommended by the Oireachtas Group on Mental Health, Mental Health Reform and the HSE.
“This week, I welcomed a Fianna Fáil motion which put the issue on the agenda, but it did not go far enough. The motion called simply for a review of the budget for Mental Health, rather than compelling the government to actually do anything. The Dáil could have sent a clear message to the government that a mere €15 million additional budget is not enough. Instead, Fianna Fáil rejected my motion which demanded a minimum of €37.5 million additional funding for 2017.
“This was figure of €37.5 million was in line with what was being recommended by experts in the field of mental health, but also was completely affordable. The change to inheritance tax will cost the exchequer €25 million euro alone.
“Fianna Fáil have voted to allow the government to continue to underfund mental health, while claiming a victory by passing their motion. The people who depend on this service need real spending commitments which will see change implemented. A meaningless review which gets the government off the hook will be cold comfort to them.”