Thursday, 7 November 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh (Atógáil) - Questions on Promised Legislation (Resumed)
Simon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
I thank Deputies Smyth, Kenny and Murphy for raising this. I assure Deputy Kenny that I am listening and the Government is listening but we are not just listening; we intend to act. I thank Leah for telling her story and extend my condolences and those of the Government to her for all that she has been through. It is an unimaginable pain and grief that she must be going through. I did not hear the Joe Finnegan interview but I will certainly make it my business to listen to it and learn from what Leah has to say.
We are acting and I want Leah to know that. The new Central Mental Hospital in Portrane will open next year, a state-of-the art facility replacing a very old, out-of-date building. The mental health budget is now above €1 billion for the first time ever. There are 144 assistant psychologists, a new grade, working in mental health. We have seen the child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS, waiting list fall by 20% since last December. For the first time ever, there is a 24-7 helpline to signpost people in respect of supports. We absolutely have a lot more to do in respect of mental health. I would certainly be happy to hear from Leah and to learn from her.