“I was absolutely appalled to hear that the former Labour TD who was responsible for the closure of St Michael’s unit in Clonmel has been chosen to lead a mental health taskforce on how people with mental health and addiction are treated within the criminal justice system.
“Ms Lynch is responsible for the closure of St Michael’s unit in Clonmel, which has left a void in the mental health services available in our county ever since.
“Here in Co Tipperary we will be slow to forget how she said the decision to close St Michael’s was ‘final’ and ‘set in blood’, so eager was she to pursue with her outrageous attitude towards our mental health services.
“However, it seems as though her attitude paid off for her in government circles, given the decision to appoint her to lead a mental health taskforce on how people with mental health and addiction are treated within the criminal justice system.
“It effectively rewards her for her ability to cut costs in mental health service provision, and indicates that the current government is as bad as the one she was involved in when counties such as Tipperary were being stripped of inpatient beds.
“But what is also astounding is how her brief is to look at the combination of mental health and addiction, while the current government continues to drag its feet in terms of dual diagnosis treatment.
“A working group on Dual Diagnosis was established in 2017 and made very little progress before its work ceased in 2018 and never restarted.
“I cannot for a moment believe that Kathleen Lynch’s appointment will do anything to progress this.
“The government does not care for effective and proper dual diagnosis treatment; and by appointing a former Labour Minster with a record in cutting mental health services, it paints a picture of a government that doesn’t care, and of how those who prove to be most proficient at cutting costs in communities like Co Tipperary, will be rewarded.”