Press Release

Minister Lynch announces membership of Expert Group to review the Mental Health Act 2001

Ms Kathleen Lynch T.D., Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People has today (Thursday 2nd August 2012) announced the establishment and membership of an Expert Group to review the Mental Health Act 2001.

A Steering Group which the Minister set up last year, recently completed an Interim Report on the Act identifying the key areas to be further examined and proposing a range of recommendations which the Minister has accepted.

Minister Lynch said, “It was always my intention that the Interim Report would be subsequently referred to an Expert Group for the second and substantive phase of the review which would be principally tasked with fleshing out the Steering Group recommendations.  In considering membership of the group, I have consulted with key stakeholder organisations and beyond to ensure there is a broad range of relevant expertise available for the work ahead.”

The Minister went on to say, “I plan to address the first meeting of the group in September to impress upon the members the importance I attach to their work.  Our mental health legislation needs to be updated to take account of significant changes in mental health service delivery and in the area of human rights for people with disabilities since its enactment, and the work of the Expert Group is an important step forward in this regard.

I wish the members well and look forward to the group producing its report by end March 2013.”


Notes to Editors:

The Membership of the group in addition to the group’s terms of reference are set out below:

Membership of the Expert Group established to review the Mental Health Act 2001

  • Dr. Pat Bracken – Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Caitriona Browne – Mental Health Nurse Manager
  • Lisa Corrigan – Occupational Therapy Manager
  • Dr Mary Donnelly – Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, UCC
  • Dr Rita Doyle – GP
  • Patricia Gilheaney – CEO, Mental Health Commission
  • Des Hogan – Acting CEO, Irish Human Rights Commission
  • Áine Hynes – Solicitor
  • Dr Brendan Kelly – Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Tony Leahy – National Mental Health Planning Specialist, HSE
  • Luke Mulligan (Chair) – Department of Health
  • Dr. Edmond O’Dea – Principal Clinical Psychologist
  • John Redican – National Service Users Executive
  • Joan Regan – Department of Health
  • Gerry Steadman – Department of Health

Terms of Reference for the Expert Group established to review the Mental Health Act 2001

The current Programme for Government includes a commitment to “review the Mental Health Act 2001 in consultation with service users, carers and other stakeholders, informed by human rights standards”.

In approving the structure of the overall review, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch T.D., agreed that the review would be carried out in two parts.  The first phase, which would include public consultation, would be undertaken by a Steering Group and would seek to scope out the key areas of the Act to be examined and analysed.  The Steering Group would then make recommendations in an Interim Report which would be referred for the second and substantive phase of the review, to an Expert Group who would be principally tasked with fleshing out the Steering Group recommendations.

The terms of reference for the Expert Group established to review the Mental Health Act 2001 are:-

  1. To examine each of the recommendations of the Interim Report on the review of the Mental Health Act 2001, andTo consider Departmental proposals for amending the Mental Health Act which pre-dated the Steering Group report and recommend a course of action in respect of those matters.
    • propose which recommendations can be agreed without further assessment  or modification,
    • establish which recommendations require further analysis before being finalised and reach conclusions in respect of the issues concerned,
    • make decisions on those areas where the Steering Group had offered choices rather than specific recommendations.
  2. To examine any further specific issues which may be referred to the Expert Group by the Minister.
  3. To ensure that the recommendations of the Expert Group take account of any Capacity legislation published in the meantime and be consistent with such legislation and existing criminal law insanity legislation, which is also under review at this time.
  4. To conclude its deliberations and submit final report to the Minister by end March 2013.