No freeze on funding for suicide prevention – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health and Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to immediately clarify her position on the role of the National Office for Suicide Prevention and the Government's commitment to deal with this major issue in Irish society. He was commenting following confirmation of the freezing of the office's 2008 budget at the 2007 level.
He stated, "Despite the growing tragedy of suicide among communities the length and breadth of our country and despite all the rhetoric from government about seriously addressing this issue we now find that there is to be no increase in 2008 in the budget for the National Office for Suicide Prevention. This makes a mockery of all the fine words uttered by Minister Harney and her colleagues with regard to suicide prevention and mental health generally. Yesterday we learnt that Grow, an organisation providing assistance to people with mental health problems, is to scale down its operations due to inadequate HSE funding.
"I am calling on the Minister to clarify her position on the role of the National Office for Suicide Prevention. If she is serious in her commitment then she will ensure that there is no freeze in the budget for the office and that it is increased significantly for 2008 as part of the range of essential measures to address this scourge in Irish society." ENDS