Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Adams calls for immediate action as Irvine inquest concludes

13 February, 2007


West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has called for immediate action from the British government to ensure adequate resources and proper treatment for people suffering from mental illness. In particular, anyone with a personality disorder should be given mental health status.

The west Belfast MP has also pledged his support to the family in any further action they might take to raise Roseanne's case and her treatment by the prison system.

His call comes following today's inquest verdict which concluded that the prison authorities were at fault in the death of Roseanne Irvine.

The West Belfast MP was also critical of the failure of the Maghaberry authorities to improve their response time for dealing with people at risk from self-harm or suicide. He said: 'There is clearly a need for a thorough investigation into how the prison system treats women prisoners, the conditions under which they are held and their access to proper medical and psychiatric care. I intend raising this matter with the British government.'

Mr Adams, who has previously met with Roseanne Irvine's family said:

"I support the family's demand for the truth about Roseanne's death. Nothing from the inquest can take away the sorrow and hurt they feel about the death or how this tragedy came about. Their courage has brought a spotlight onto the circumstances of Roseanne's death and the inadequate treatment of people with a personality disorder

"This case has highlighted the need for people with a personality disorder to have access to mental health support and treatment. Even now, almost three years after Roseanne's death in Maghaberry prison, there are individuals with mental health needs who are being dealt with by the criminal justice system. This is unacceptable.

"I have previously urged British Ministers to ensure that personality disorders are given mental health status and specialist services. Sinn Féin argued for this change during the review of mental health by Professor Bamford.

"It is now agreed that dumping people with mental health needs in prison is wrong and unacceptable. I am again calling for the Minister for Health to take immediate action to implement the Bamford recommendations in relation to personality disorders."

Cllr Janice Austin, who represents the Turf Lodge area, accompanied the Irvine family at the inquest. Cllr Austin said :

"This has been a terrible ordeal for the family. They brought pressure to bear to expose the circumstances around Roseanne's death. Many families bereaved through suicide still await resources and support. Families themselves have lead the campaign for a suicide prevention strategy and Sinn Féin will continue to work with them to ensure its implementation." ENDS

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