Press Release

Harney Says Resolution of Consultant Psychiatrists’ Dispute Clears Way for Introduction of Mental Health Tribunals

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today (Monday 23rd January 2006) welcomed the resolution of the dispute involving consultant psychiatrists which has delayed the establishment and operation of the new Mental Health Tribunals provided for under Part 2 of the Mental Health Act, 2001.

“I am pleased that the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) are now committed to co-operating with the full implementation of the Mental Health Act, 2001, including the participation of their consultant psychiatrist members on Mental Health Tribunals. I will be proceeding with arrangements for the making of the necessary Ministerial Order to bring Part 2 of the Act into operation this year.”

“The establishment of the Mental Health Tribunals, together with the continuing investment programme and the new policy document to be launched tomorrow, are the three key elements in the modernisation of our mental health services.”

Sanction for the payment of the 1.5% Sustaining Progress salary increase withheld from consultant psychiatrists since 1 December 2005 is being issued on foot of the commitment received from their representative bodies.

The primary function of the Mental Health Tribunals is to review the cases of persons who have been involuntarily detained. The 2001 Act contains provisions specifically framed to bring Irish law into conformity with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, particularly in relation to providing new statutory safeguards for mentally disordered persons who are involuntarily admitted for psychiatric care or treatment.