Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has urged the government to up their game as figures released to Fianna Fáil reveal only 140 new staff were hired for mental health services in 2018.

Deputy Mac Sharry commented “9,938 staff were employed across our mental health services in January 2019 – that’s an increase of 140 on the previous year. If that rate of recruitment continues we should have the required numbers for the population of Ireland in 2019 by 2038.

“In Counties Sligo, Leitrim, Rocommon and South Donegal our mental health services are not fit for purpose. We have long waiting lists and under resourced services. Often if an individual is requiring an appointment the situation cannot sit for months. An urgent appointment is required in almost all circumstances.

“The government needs to up its game on mental health recruitment. Last year the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care heard evidence of cumbersome and protracted recruitment processes.  This needs to change; there should be the option for local services to have the power to recruit themselves rather than having to go through a national process at all times.

“Unless the government delivers the resources and staff to our mental health services, we will be waiting another 20 years for the 2006 A Vision for Change recommendations to be fully implemented,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.