Last week acting Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, announced that €12m in funding which had been ring fenced for mental health services would now be diverted to other areas. His justification was that the Fine Gael led government had increased funding by 16% to €827 million and that they had secured a number of achievements in the area since coming to power in 2011.
550 people died by suicide last year. I wouldn’t call that an achievement.
Today, during Dáil debates on mental health, Dublin North-West TD Noel Rock took to Twitter to share a picture of the handful of elected representatives who were present.
I counted 10 TDs, that’s one for every person who will die by suicide in Ireland this week.
Varadkar himself was not present for the whole debate. His excuse for leaving early was that he was part of the negotiating team who are still in government formation talks with Fianna Fáil. The same talks that have been going on since after the General Election. . . 9 weeks ago. While I agree that the country does need a Government, these talks should have and could have concluded weeks ago if there was the political will to form a new coalition.
Meanwhile, the backlash has continued online with many, including Limerick rap duo The Rubberbandits taking to social media to vent their frustration.
Mental Health demonstrations are due to take place in Dublin, Cork and Galway this Thursday, April 28th.
You can also find a full list of those TDs who contributed to today’s debates here:
If your local elected representative was not among those who did speak, all TDs contact details are listed here. Make your voice heard.
You can also text PIETA to 50300 to donate €2 or check out http://www.dil.pieta.ie for details of the Darkness into Light events going on around the country on May 7th.