Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins] A number of Senators, in expressing sympathy, have also raised the question of debates on suicide. We have had four or five debates to date on suicide and its prevention. People have also been critical of funding for mental health services. This Government committed to a €35 million special allocation for mental health services in 2012 and 2013 for adult and child mental health services. The special allocation included the creation of 414 mental health posts of which the majority, 410, are now in place. That is significant progress in that area.

  I am happy to inform the House that the budget for 2013 allocated a further €35 million which will include an additional 470 posts that will be advertised shortly. We have seen action in that regard and the Government is committed to the area. The Minister of State, Deputy Lynch, has received assurances from the HSE that the recruitment process for the 2013 posts is in progress. Advertising for them has commenced. An example of the spending involved in the €35 million special allocation on suicide strategy is as follows. The Minister of State has taken the lead and is committed to implementing the recommendations of Reach Out, the national strategy for action on suicide prevention 2005-14. I am happy to be able to inform the House that the national office for suicide prevention has implemented most of the recommendations in the strategy, delivering a general population approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention, using targeted programmes for people at high risk of suicide, delivering services to individuals who have engaged in deliberate self harm and providing support to families and communities bereaved by suicide. I am not prepared to accept suggestions from the House that the Government is doing little or nothing regarding mental health and suicide prevention.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry It is not just this Government. All Governments------

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Allow the Leader to respond.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry It is not about politicising the issue; it is about debate-----

(Interruptions).

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry The figures speak for themselves. We are losing the battle on suicide. How many people have to die?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan I ask Senator MacSharry to respect the Chair. Allow the Leader to respond.

Senator Thomas Byrne: Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne On a point of order, the Leader is coming out with figures which do not stand up to the facts.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan That is not a point of order.

(Interruptions).

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins The information the Leader is giving is factual. Obviously if people do not want to listen to it, that is their prerogative. I know it may hurt in some instances.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry The figures speak for themselves. We are losing the battle on suicide and the empty rhetoric will not save any lives.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Senator MacSharry, please respect the Chair. I call on the Leader to respond.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senators Bacik, Healy Eames and Moran also welcomed the fact that HIQA inspections will now take place in facilities for children and adults with disabilities, which is to be welcomed by the House.

  Senator Mullen and others raised the question of suicide prevention. Senator Hayden outlined that the national children's hospital is of paramount importance. It will commence in due course.


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