Thursday, 28 November 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Joan Freeman (Independent)
I acknowledge that it is Thanksgiving Day. I wish the people in Solace House in New York and all the clients that go to them a happy Thanksgiving Day.
I wish to follow on from what the previous speaker said about the embarrassment of Fine Gael over the state of the emergency department in the children's hospital. It made me look back at Fine Gael's election manifestos in 2011 and 2016. I will read a little from it:
Fine Gael policy on mental health incorporates the recommendations of A Vision for Change. We are committed to reducing the stigma of mental illness, ensuring early and appropriate intervention and vastly improving access to modern mental health services in the community.
What happened during those years? Fine Gael's next manifesto in 2016 stated: "We will publish a plan for the achievement of the faster access to comprehensive and appropriate mental health services, building upon A Vision for Change, with an emphasis on building on [...] reduced waiting times for child and adolescent services." Another reference is quite ironic, namely, reduced admission rates to acute units. Of course Fine Gael has achieved the latter aim because half the units are closed so of course they will show a reduction in acute units. I would like to call in the Minister of State, Deputy Daly, to ask him what has happened to A Vision for Change. There have been two more reviews in recent years, one about six months ago. Where is it at? What is happening? How embarrassing for Fine Gael that it is not coming through with any of the promises it made prior to the previous two elections. We are coming back into the silly season again where everybody will go around door to door promising everything. What is Fine Gael going to promise this year? Will we witness that it will not follow up on it?