Sinn Féin welcomes plans for permanent Oireachtas Mental Health Committee - Pat Buckely TD, Senator Devine
Sinn Fein spokespersons on Mental Health Pat Buckley TD and Senator Máire Devine has welcomed news of plans to re-establish an Oireachtas Mental Health Committee in the coming months.
This comes after repeated requests by the party’s TD’s and Senators over the last 6 months.
Last March in responses to a questions from Deputy Buckley and Senator Devine the Minister of State for Mental Health Jim Daly had claimed to have no plans to establish a permanent committee.
Deputy Buckley said:
“I welcome news that this committee will be established and given a permanent basis. Mental Health is not a fad, it is a fundamental part of healthcare and well being.
"We desperately need Oireachtas oversight of the running of our Mental Health services and the policy of the government and HSE.
"Over the months I sat on the temporary Future of Mental Health Committee we identified major problems and gaps in the services, especially in regards to information and data collection around budgeting and patient care.
"Over the next year we will see the publication of yet another report into Vision for Change, new mental health legislation, which is years behind schedule.
"Increased pressure on services have been reeling from years of underfunding and neglect, coupled with a crisis in retention and recruitment of staff.
"This committee will have a huge amount of work to do to hold the government to account on it’s many failing and demand delivery of badly needed implementation of reforms identified in both the new report and others which have been shelved.”
Senator Devine added;
“This is wonderful news for the wellbeing of this country. I worked so hard on the committee, and this was acknowledged by the chair and my colleagues.
"I brought my passion, my on the ground expertise, and I know well what work is still needed.
"However a few weeks ago when I questioned the Minister he told me unequivocally that the committee would not be re-established, even though it was promised by the Taoiseach last year.
"Minister Daly should explain his change of heart and commit to establishing the committee without delay, before the summer recess in late July.
"Give us a date Minister, no procrastination. We cannot afford to wait for accountability and transparency.”