Press Release

O’Malley Welcomes Mental Health Commission’s Report and the Report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services

“Mental Health Review Will Propose Comprehensive Reform Right Across Mental Health Sector” says Minister of State, Tim O’Malley

“The report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services is a clear and accurate assessment of the situation as it currently pertains and I congratulate its author, Dr Teresa Carey, on her uncompromising approach.

Dr Carey rightly highlights the serious structural and operational challenges that exist within the system as well as the opportunities that exist to improve the situation.

I am making arrangements to meet with the Mental Health Commission, the Inspector of Mental Health Services and the HSE to discuss the detail of the Mental Health Commission’s report and how best to move forward. I expect this meeting to take place in the coming week.

In 2003, I commissioned an expert group chaired by Professor Joyce O’Connor, to undertake a comprehensive review of all aspects of mental health policy in Ireland.

This group, made up of professionals in the fields of psychiatry, psychotherapy, nursing, psychology and social work, have conducted a wide-ranging study involving public consultations and submissions from all relevant interests.

I greatly look forward to receiving the final report of the Expert Group by year end, which I anticipate will form the basis for a modern mental health policy over the next two decades.

This year, an additional €15m is being invested in mental health service development and this is being complemented by another €26m capital funding to improve or replace outdated or inadequate infrastructure.

Separately, there are serious concerns raised about the situation at the Central Mental Hospital. The Tanáiste and Minister for Health, Mary Harney, visited the facility within the past week to see conditions at first hand. While she acknowledged the commitment and professionalism of staff in providing a high level of care, the Tanáiste declared the physical conditions at the hospital to be wholly unacceptable.

I also visited the hospital again this week and had a productive meeting with the Central Mental Hospital’s Relatives Group. I am to meet the Group again in October. During our visits, the Tanaiste and I also met with senior management. We are acutely aware of the seriousness of the situation in Dundrum. Work is continuing with stakeholders on the exciting new initiative in this regard – the shutting down of the Dundrum complex and the transfer of the Central Mental Hospital to a brand new state-of-the-art facility at Thornton Hall in North Dublin. This is a long overdue initiative, and one which will be given absolute priority going forward.

I am encouraged also by the initiative of my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael Mc Dowell, to reform the outdated laws on insanity.”