Press Release

Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children speaks at a conference on Law and Mental Health

Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children speaking today (Saturday 17th November 2007) at the conference on Law and Mental Health said that “the protection of human rights is of paramount importance when considering mental health legislation”. He added that “to deprive a person of their liberty and treat them without their consent is a serious measure and one which requires robust safeguards and review mechanisms to be in place to ensure that human rights are not abused”.

The Minister also referred to the fact that the Mental Health Act 2001 required a review to be carried out within 5 years of its establishment day. “This review was undertaken by my Department earlier this year and the report of its findings and conclusions were laid before the Oireachtas in May.”

The Minister continued “the Report acknowledged the significant changes to procedures brought about by the new Act and the challenges for existing services. It was, for example, too early to draw meaningful conclusions on trends in involuntary admissions”.

The Minister said that he was “pleased to note that throughout the Report, the constant theme is that the interests of persons detained under the Act are paramount”

The Conference, co-sponsored by the Department of Health and Children and the Health Service Executive, was organised and hosted by the Law Faculty NUI Galway in association with the Disability Law and Policy Research Unit, NUI Galway and the Centre for Research on Occupational and Lifestyle Stress, NUI Galway.