Friday 23 March 2018

Solicitor brands mental health service 'a joke'

John Hennessy
John Hennessy

A SOLICITOR has slammed the mental health service, calling it 'a joke' after he told a court that a young man has been waiting six months for an appointment.

John Hennessy, who was defending 21-year-old Daniel O'Neill in a case where the young man ended up barricading himself and his 18-month-old child in his house, armed with a cross-bow, said the defendant had sought help for mental health problems prior to the offence.

'I made a serious point in court,' Mr Hennessy told the Fingal Independent. 'There was no drink or drugs involved in this case and this young man needs help.

'He went to the mental health service eight months ago telling them he needs help and then he was put on a six-month waiting list,' said Mr Hennessy, adding that when O'Neill was placed in two-month custody after the offence, he was unable to contact the mental health service and because of that, O'Neill was put back on the waiting list.

'And because he has been waiting so long to see a counsellor, this intervening event took place,' said Mr Hennessy.

'This is the reality on the ground,' Mr Hennessy continued.

After Judge Dermot Dempsey said he had no psychiatric report in front of him in court, Mr Hennessy said it was not the defendant's fault but the fault of the mental health service.

He called the mental health service 'a joke' after Judge Dermot Dempsey had directed O'Neill receive psychiatric treatment while serving his six-month sentence.

'This court will direct that but it won't happen because sadly, I have to say, the mental health service is a joke,' said Mr Hennessy.

Fingal Independent