Fianna Fáil Mental Health Spokesperson James Browne TD says that 83 posts in mental health services that were approved for filling in 2015 and 2016 appear to have disappeared between July and October of last year.

Deputy Browne explained, “Last year I obtained figures that showed that just 230 out of 750 mental health posts that were approved in 2015 and 2016 had been filled as of July 2017.

“I subsequently sought an update late last year and it would appear that the number of approved positions for the two years in question has gone down from 750 to 667, a drop of 83.

“Obviously this begs many questions of the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE. Are these new development posts no longer approved? What is the funding sanctioned for them now being used for? Or does the HSE simply not know how many posts it previously approved?

“On the plus side the HSE does say that an additional 50 posts have been filled. However, it still amounts to less than half the total approved in Budgets 2015 and 2016. The fact remains that we still do not have anywhere near an adequate level of support for people with mental health difficulties. This needs to change,” concluded Deputy Browne.