Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD and party spokesperson for health Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the news that his party has secured a government agreement for a permanent joint Oireachtas committee on mental health to be established.
Speaking on Thursday, Donnelly said “Two years ago Fianna Fáil secured the establishment of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health, which reported last year. However, we believe it is important that a permanent committee be in place to discuss and examine mental health matters and policy.”
“It is also necessary because despite the good work carried out by the current Oireachtas Health Committee, it has been unable to devote much time to mental health in recent months. Given the crises over Cervical Check and the debacle over the costs of the National Children’s Hospital this was perhaps inevitable, but it is not sustainable.”
Donnelly continued to emphasise that stronger oversight of mental health facilities are required following the recent findings of the Inspector of Mental Health Services.
“Stronger Oireachtas oversight is required as is clearly illustrated by the recent finding by the Inspector of Mental Health Services that three out of four mental health centres are failing to reach acceptable standards of cleanliness and maintenance.”
“The establishment of a permanent committee is also tangible proof of Fianna Fáil’s commitment to ensuring that mental health is placed on an equal footing with physical health. We need now to see this Committee established and up and running as soon as possible,” concluded Donnelly.