Tuesday 23 January 2018

Eddie Molloy: Mental-health services must not be sacrificed

DURING a recent RTE radio programme, former supreme court judge Catherine McGuinness remarked on the report on the deaths of children in the care of the State that nearly all its recommendations had been made 20 years earlier in her report on the Kilkenny incest case. Little was done to implement those findings in the meantime, with the tragic result that since 1993 hundreds of children have died before reaching their 18th year and many thousands more survived into adulthood, often as broken people surviving on our streets or stuck in prison.

Ever since the establishment of the HSE and long before, services for vulnerable children, older people in institutions and even in their own homes and people with mental-health difficulties have not been treated fairly.

Throughout the bountiful decade of the Celtic Tiger, the annual 'Adequacy of Childcare Services' report and the annual report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services, both required by law, repeatedly highlighted the inadequacies of these 'Cinderella' services, including the fact of people continuing to live in awful conditions and children still being admitted to adult wards. But these reports were also largely ignored.

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