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Government Budget lacks the political will to invest in mental health services - Senator Máire Devine

11 October, 2017 - by Máire Devine

Sinn Féin Seanad Spokesperson on health and wellbeing Senator Máire Devine has expressed her 'utter disappointment' at the government's failure to give much needed investment into mental health services.

Today it was confirmed that, despite what was announced within the budget yesterday, there will actually only be a paltry €15 million increase in the mental health budget, not €35 million increase as was originally announced.

Speaking on the revelation, Senator Devine said;

“I am utterly appalled. A €35 million increase in mental health would have fallen short of addressing the crisis we face in mental health, seeing as how measures from Mental Health Reform and others state that at least a €65 million increase was needed just to keep things as they are. But only €15 million of fresh investment that has been secured amounts to a mere increase of just 1.8%.

"This budget was all about choices - and the choice of Fine Gael made was to choose spin over substance and not invest the much needed funding into essential services.

"With the equivalent of a third of the mental health budget going into the Government's new spin team, this explicitly shows Fine Gael do not have the political will to invest in our mental health services.

"The Taoiseach seems more concerned with style and spin over substance, while failing to account that there are ordinary people suffering without essential 24/7 crisis intervention services, without open beds in the Linn Dara in- patient unit for mentally unwell children and other much needed resources.

"During my tenure as a psychiatric nurse we never felt the investment on the ground. I will be working with my union, the Psychiatric Nurse’s Association, to address this completely unacceptable budget. Our children, and our communities, deserve more.“

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