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 Header Item Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2008 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2008 [Seanad]: Committee and Remaining Stages

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 899 No. 3

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  8 o’clock

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I thank Deputies for their contributions. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan referred to the late John McCarthy. While the Department carried out a review of the Mental Health Act, my view on electroconvulsive therapy, ECT, was informed by Mr. McCarthy. While he was not entirely opposed to ECT, which continues to be the subject of debate, he certainly opposed its use when people were unwilling and had the capacity to make a decision on the treatment.

I plan to group the amendments to this short Bill, as they relate to only two sections of the 2001 Act. The changes involved are similar involving the removal of the word "unwilling" from sections 59 and 60 of the Mental Health Act 2001. Amendment No. 1 to section 1 relates to definitions and is a small, technical amendment recommended by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. It defines what the principal Act being amended is. The new definition being included confirms that the principal Act being amended is the Mental Health Act 2001.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt We must conclude Second Stage before discussing Committee Stage amendments.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I apologise. I am anxious to complete the passage of the Bill. I thank Deputies for their contributions on Second Stage.

  Question put and agreed to.

Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2008 [Seanad]: Committee and Remaining Stages

NEW SECTIONS

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Amendments Nos. 1 to 5, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:
"Definition

1. In this Act "Principal Act" means the Mental Health Act 2001.".

This is a small technical amendment recommended by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and merely defines what the principal Act being amended is. The new definition being included simply confirms that the principal Act we are amending is the Mental Health Act. I intend to group the amendments.

  Amendment No. 2 has the effect of deleting the original section 1 of the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2008 and replacing it with revised text, which reads, "Section 59(1) of the Principal Act is amended by the deletion, in paragraph (b), of "or unwilling"." The language used is that favoured by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel which has a similar import to that originally set out in section 1. This section is the essence of the change we are making and removal of the word "unwilling" from section 59 will ensure that, in future, where a patient has capacity and refuses the administration of ECT, his or her choice will be respected.

  Amendment No. 3 amends section 2 of the existing Bill which, as it stands, purports to remove section 59 of the Act in its entirety. It was never the intention to delete section 59. The intention, as shown in section 1, as agreed in the Seanad, was only to amend the section. For this reason, I am amending section 2 and removing the reference to section 59 as it is no longer relevant. In its place, I am adding a change which mirrors the change to section 59 and seeks to delete the word "unwilling" from section 60 of the Act. This is the second substantive amendment I propose and it will ensure that where an involuntary patient has been administered medicine for a continuous period of three months, the continued administration of that medicine will not be allowed if the patient has capacity and is unwilling to consent to the continuation of the treatment. This proposed amendment will also bring section 60 into line with the changes I am making to section 59.

  Amendment No. 4 amends section 3. This change is of a technical nature and deletes the original section 3(2) of the Bill which relates to the citation of the Act. Section 3(2) is being replaced with the following text, "This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister for Health may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or different provisions." This is a simple, technical drafting amendment recommended by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel which allows for the coming into operation of the Act by commencement order or orders made by the Minister for Health. I hope to sign the relevant commencement order in January with a view to commencing the changes to the Act by 1 February 2016 to give the Mental Health Commission time to prepare for the change. It should be borne in mind that the commission will be charged with either enabling or enforcing the new legislation.

  Amendment No. 5 amends the Long Title of the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2008 by the insertion of the text, "for the treatment of certain persons and, for that purpose to amend the Mental Health Act 2001; and to provide for related matters", after the word "procedures" in the original Bill. This is a small technical change recommended by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel which ensures the Title is fully accurate.

  In the event that it is acceptable to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to do so, the following is a request for amendment to side notes in page 3, lines 18 and 19, to substitute "Short title and commencement" for "Short title, collective citation and construction". This change is self-explanatory.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin As the amendments are being discussed in one group, I take this opportunity to record my party's support for all five amendments tabled by the Minister of State to facilitate the speedy passage of the legislation.

  Amendment agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Acceptance of amendment No. 2 involves the deletion of section 1 of the Bill.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I move amendment No. 2:

In page 3, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:
"Amendment of section 59 of Principal Act

2. Section 59(1) of the Principal Act is amended by the deletion, in paragraph (b), of "or unwilling".".

  Amendment agreed to.

  Section 1 deleted.

NEW SECTION

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Acceptance of amendment No. 3 involves the deletion of section 2 of the Bill.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I move amendment No. 3:

In page 3, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:
"Amendment of section 60 of Principal Act

3. Section 60 of the Principal Act is amended by the deletion, in paragraph (b), of "or unwilling".".

  Amendment agreed to.

  Section 2 deleted.

SECTION 3

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I move amendment No. 4:

In page 3, to delete lines 20 to 22 and substitute the following:
"(2) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister for Health may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or different provisions.".

  Amendment agreed to.

  Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

TITLE

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I move amendment No. 5:

In page 3, line 13, after "procedures" to insert the following:
"for the treatment of certain persons and, for that purpose to amend the Mental Health Act 2001; and to provide for related matters".

  Amendment agreed to.

  Title, as amended, agreed to.

  Bill reported with amendments and received for final consideration.

  Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."


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