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Government must prioritise new Mental Health Bill in 2019 - Pat Buckley TD

15 January, 2019 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Fein Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has called for the government to prioritise the delivery of a new bill on Mental Health Bill to address outstanding patients rights issues.

Teachta Buckley was responding to the release of the government Spring Legislative Programme which includes the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill to implement the recommendations of the Expert Review Group published in late 2014. The Bill has previously been listed in Legislative programmes as far back as Autumn 2017 with little progress.

Deputy Buckley said;

“I am glad to see that the government still lists its intent to address the Expert Group’s recommendations in their Mental Health (Amendment) Bill. Unfortunately it is hard to put much faith in this listing due to the fact that the Bill in question has been at roughly the same stage since Autumn 2017 when it was first mentioned.

“The Bill was first listed by the government in Autumn 2017 with the status of ‘Work is progressing’ which was changed to ‘Draft heads in preparation’ in 2018 and is listed under the same vague status now in the new Spring 2019 Legislative programme.

“Much of the work has not yet been done or even started it would seem at this stage. This is particularly disappointing when you consider that the government has not published a single piece of major legislation on Mental Health since its establishment nearly three years ago.

“Expert Group have themselves done a lot of work in their comprehensive report into the flaws of the existing legislation and the needed reform. An evolving understanding of these issues has also been aided by the work of groups like Mental Health Reform which published its own analysis of the review in 2015 and has worked along with a range of stakeholders and campaigners to continue to highlight the need for new legislation.

“The government must now take from this work and draft quickly the legislation that has been plainly needed for a number of years. Of course it is essential that the legislation is done right but so far years of foot dragging have done nothing to improve the situation.

“I also call on the government to re-establish the Committee on the Future of Mental Health to aid in this developing work and to ensure that reform is timely and to the highest standard.”


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