Press Release

Minister Lynch Announces New Appointments to the Mental Health Commission

Kathleen Lynch T.D., Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People today announced appointments to the Mental Health Commission for the period 2012 – 2017.

The new Commission will be chaired by Mr John Saunders, Director of Shine the national organisation dedicated to upholding the rights and addressing the needs of all those affected by mental illness. The other members of the Commission include representatives of the medical, nursing, other health and legal professionals, voluntary bodies, mental health service users and the general public.

The full list of members appointed by the Minister is as follows:

  • Dr Mary Keys, Lecturer, NUI Galway (reappointed)
  • Dr Michael Byrne, Principal Psychology Manager, HSE West
  • Dr Maeve Doyle, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Monaghan
  • Dr Francis Xavier Flanagan, General Practitioner, Kildare
  • Ms Pauline Gill, Principal Social Worker, National Forensic Service, Dublin
  • Dr Anne Jeffers, Consultant Psychiatrist, Galway
  • Mr Ned Kelly, Director of Nursing, Cork
  • Ms Colette Nolan, Irish Advocacy Network
  • Ms Catherine O’Rourke, Director of Nursing, Louth/Meath
  • Ms Patricia O’Sullivan Lacy, Barrister-At-Law (reappointed)
  • Mr John Redican, National Service Users Executive (reappointed)
  • Mr Martin Rogan, HSE (reappointed)
  • Mr John Saunders, Shine (reappointed)

The Minister expressed her sincere thanks to the outgoing members of the Mental Health Commission. In its five years in office from 2007 – 2012 the Commission contributed significantly to improving the quality of mental health services for users and patients. The Minister also acknowledged the important role of the Commission in developing mental health services in line with A Vision for Change.

The Mental Health Commission has successfully established itself as an independent body committed to promoting high standards and good practices in the delivery of mental health services and to ensuring that the interests of detained persons are protected. “The Commission’s independent role is crucial in driving the agenda for change in the mental health service in the coming years”, the Minister stated.

The Mental Health Commission provides a process for the automatic review of all persons detained for care and treatment in approved centres. During the past five years over 9,200 Mental Health Tribunal review hearings have been held and the number of patients admitted to unsuitable psychiatric institutions has steadily declined and this is largely due to conditions imposed by the Commission.

More detailed information relating to the work of the Mental Health Commission including mental health tribunals is available on the Commission’s website (