Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Discussion

Photo of Joan FreemanJoan Freeman (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I apologise to Dr. Muldoon and Dr. McAuley for being late and that I have to leave shortly to vote. I was in the Chamber complaining about services for mental health, in Wexford in particular. I am sure they will be well aware of what I was raising. I am getting text messages not only from parents but also from staff in the area.

Dr. Muldoon mentioned that the Government does not have much longer. It will be six months if we are lucky. Is he concerned that at every election, mental health becomes one of the topics of conversation, yet when each new Government comes into office, nothing is done. As Dr. Muldoon said, he has been trying to do things for years. Wexford is a perfect example. Two and a half years ago, it was promised a new premises. Now the premises is there and they are still not in it, there is no consultant and no registrar. What is Dr. Muldoon going to do as the Ombudsman to the Government, or the next Government? There will be a different Minister for Health, or for mental health. How will Dr. Muldoon cope with that? Can he do anything now to safeguard whatever work has gone through? We spoke of online safety, for example. I had a Bill passed through the Seanad about taking down harmful content, websites in particular, that would teach children how to deprive themselves of food, how to self harm or how to take their lives. That has gone through. That will die a death unless someone in the Dáil runs with it before the Government leaves office. We were promised a mental health committee. The previous committee was helping to scrutinise the HSE and so on, but that does not exist any more. How will the Ombudsman for Children keep going? How will he safeguard this so that whatever work has been done will be minded?


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