Press Release

Minister Tim O´Malley addresses Irish Advocacy Network Conference in Northern Ireland

Mr Tim O´Malley, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Mental Health today (21st June 2004) addressed the Irish Advocacy Network Conference in Downpatrick. In his address, the Minister referred to the fact that for many years people with a mental illness were excluded from full participation in community life, as a result of widespread stigmatisation of mental illness. “Thankfully, there is now a recognition of the right of each person to participate fully in the social, economic, political and cultural activities of their communities. Recognition of that right is vital if we are to build an inclusive society in which all of our citizens can contribute their experiences, talents and abilities,” the Minister said.

Minister O´Malley stated that the Government is committed to the provision of quality care in the area of mental health, to upholding the civil and human rights of those who suffer from mental illness and to encouraging measures aimed at combating the stigma that is often associated with such illness. “During my term of office as Minister of State with special responsibility for mental health, I am endeavouring to continue to accelerate the growth in more appropriate care facilities for people with a mental illness through the further development of community-based facilities throughout the country” the Minister added.

The Minister referred to the dramatic changes in both the concept and practice of mental health care delivery. Enormous strides have been made and continue to be made in developing a comprehensive, community-based service which is integrated with other health services. “Voluntary organisations and their members have an essential role in a community-based mental health service. The work of Irish Advocacy Network, with its emphasis on helping people to become responsible for their own lives links you with the kind of service we are now trying to create” the Minister added.

The Minister acknowledged the very important work performed by voluntary organizations such as Irish Advocacy Network in highlighting and responding to the needs of those in our society who suffer from mental ill-health and wished them continued success.