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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Mental Hospital Farms.

Thursday, 27 January 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 220 No. 3

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Mr. Mullen: Information on Michael Mullen Zoom on Michael Mullen asked the Minister for Health if large farms run by mental hospital authorities on a commercial basis are of any therapeutic value to patients; and, if not, if he will take an early opportunity of advising health authorities to consider disposing of [442] such lands, especially in areas where they are required for housing and/or industrial purposes, other than lands of limited acreage attached to a hospital which could be used in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients.

Mr. O'Malley: While most, if not all, mental hospital farms have some therapeutic value, in many cases their therapeutic value is probably small. Some years ago my predecessor, Deputy MacEntee urged all mental hospital authorities to examine the need to retain all their farming land and the matter has since been taken up with individual authorities from time to time. So far, however, only a few have decided to reduce their farms substantially. The disposal of land is a function reserved by law to the members of the local authority concerned, subject only to my sanction.

I am not aware of any case where lands needed for housing or industrial purposes are retained by health authorities.

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