Thursday 22 March 2018

Fianna Fáil promise ring-fenced €1bn budget for mental health

Colm Keaveney
Colm Keaveney
John Downing

John Downing

FIANNA Fáil today pledged a €200m increase in spending on mental health – and to end the practice of its budget being spent on other services.

The party’s spokesman on mental health, Colm Keaveney, said there were huge shortages of staff and resources which made it the “Cinderella” of the health sector.

“There has been a lack of political will to deliver the many promises made to people who need mental health services and their families.  One way to end that is to provide a service with a ring-fenced budget which cannot be diverted to meet other needs,” the Galway East TD said.

Mr Keaveney said the party would establish a special mental health service headed by a “Mental Health Tsar.”

He insisted this did not involve another “quango” with extra personnel as the existing staff could be re-deployed more effectively in this way.

Mr Keaveney said that currently some €791m per year was being spent on mental health and his party would increase this to €991m.

The Fianna Fáil TD was accompanied by the party’s Seanad spokesman, Senator Thomas Byrne.  Both spokespeople refused to be drawn into speculation about coalition formations saying they would only address mental health issues.

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