Independent TD Mattie McGrath has once again called on the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch to resign. Deputy McGrath made his statement following the news that nine consultant Psychiatrists have withdrawn confidence in the clinical management of the Carlow-Kilkenny / South Tipperary mental health services:
“At the beginning of this year Minister Lynch presided over after a savage cut to the the Government’s €35million annual commitment to mental health services when she downgraded that budget to €20 million.
This at a time when we as a nation are enduring what only be described as a mental health state of emergency. Ireland is already in the unenviable position of having the fourth highest suicide rate among 14-24 year-olds in the EU and the third highest among young men aged between 15 and 19. Between 45% and 65% will be suffering from treatable mental illnesses such as depression or psychosis.
The fact that these senior psychiatrists have described the service as dangerously inadequate is only further confirmation of the fallout of such cuts to the mental health strategy of this Government.
It is simply unacceptable for this Government and this Minister to go on overseeing the gradual decimation of mental health care in this Country.
Piece by piece the infrastructure is being dismantled and the burden is falling excessively on groups like the Samaritans and Pieta House to pick up the shortfall created by Government budget cuts.
In South Tipperary alone we have seen the near erosion of primary mental healthcare with the closure of St Michaels and the loss of 49 acute service beds. If we are serious at all about preventing or reducing the epidemic of suicide and depression that is sweeping our Country then we need far more than formulaic guff about Government commitments and the noble but ultimately empty promises that have been issuing from the Department of Health lately.
It is time for Minister Lynch to resign. She is in a state of arrogant denial about the crisis in her own area of ministerial responsibility. Unfortunately such denial is costing lives and preventing the appropriate and early intervention that is necessary to prevent the further loss of life which these nine senior consultants are warning about,” concluded Deputy McGrath.