Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD has called on the Government to immediately publish the proposed legislation to address a recent finding of unconstitutionality of the Mental Health Act 2001 by the High Court.

The High Court ruled in May that a key provision of the Mental Health Act is unconstitutional and that an immediate response was required on the part of the Oireachtas and Government to address the issue.

Deputy Browne said, “Fianna Fáil recognises the significance of this issue and we did state that we would work with the Government to get this matter addressed without any unnecessary delay. We reluctantly agreed for the required legislation to skip pre-legislative scrutiny due to the urgency of matter. However, it’s unacceptable that the Government is yet to publish the proposed legislation.

“This legislation concerns the most serious type of human right, the deprivation of a person’s liberty in the absence of a criminal conviction. It must be treated with the seriousness that it deserves. TD’s from across the Dáil recognise the need to deal with this issue as a matter of priority. However it’s important that the proposed legislation is made available so that it can be scrutinised to make sure it is fit for purpose.

“There are real risks that, in the absence of scrutiny, rushed legislation such as this will lead to further court challenges in the future. The Minister for Health Simon Harris must publish the proposed legislation immediately to avoid this outcome,” concluded Deputy Browne.