Dáil debates

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Covid-19, Mental Health and Older People: Statements


11:20 am

Photo of Niamh SmythNiamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I begin by congratulating our colleague, the Minister for Justice, and her husband, Paul, on the birth of their new baby boy. It is wonderful news and of course she is making history.

I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, for all the tremendous work she is doing for mental health and older people. She has hit the ground running in her Department and the areas under her remit and delivery. I can vouch for that. I think that the tenor of the previous contribution was most unfair.

I would like to speak today about mental health, especially mental health services for Cavan and Monaghan. I wish to draw the attention of the Minister of State to the fact that we are lucky to have seen a new SOSAD branch open in Monaghan town. I acknowledge the work of Margaret McGowan and her team in SOSAD in Monaghan. A new service is open this week and I know that will be a terrific advancement in services in Cavan and Monaghan. We have the service in Cavan as well. The Minister of State kindly joined a Zoom meeting last October with all the stakeholders within Cavan and Monaghan. It involved those who are at the coalface of delivering a service and, more important, support for those affected by suicide and mental health issues. As the Minister of State knows, we have a great team of people there. At that meeting, some issues were raised with her and I hope we can progress them a little.

I listened to my colleague, Deputy Cahill, earlier. He talked about the delivery by the Minister of State of the Jigsaw service for Tipperary. Will the Minister of State assist in ensuring that we get the delivery of that type of service for Cavan and Monaghan? I am not exaggerating when I say we have an acute need for the service, especially for young people across the constituency.

My time is limited. I wanted to mention the suicide crisis assessment nurse post. I believe the role is very useful and helpful for people in community healthcare organisations. I am also asking for more primary care. I wish to remind the Minister of State that I have written to her on the matter. I am seeking a reply on the jigsaw element and I would appreciate a response.


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