Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health, Colm Keaveney TD, is urging people across Co Galway to attend a public meeting in Ballinasloe next week about the closure of St Brigid’s.
The meeting, organised by the local action group, takes place in Gullane’s on Main Street in Ballinasloe at 8pm on Thursday night. Deputy Keaveney said communities across east Galway must continue to stand together against the ongoing undermining of local mental health services.
“We need to demand an explanation as to why the Government earmarked St Brigid’s in Ballinasloe for closure,” said Deputy Keaveney.
“Why was there no proper consultation? Why were the warnings from senior clinicians and those working on the ground in mental health services been ignored? Why has there been no consideration of just how devastating this closure could be to mental health service provision in this region?”
“Mental health services in Galway and across the country are already drastically under-resourced at a time when the incidents of suicide, depression and mental health problems are on the increase. I recently uncovered information, through Parliamentary Questions, revealing shocking gaps in frontline mental health services nationally. There is no doubt that people who are in desperate need of help are simply not getting the support they need.
“According to the information, 70% of posts allocated across the mental health services have not been filled. In addition to this, 70% of posts for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have also not been filled. That means that at the end of September, 413 children in some form of mental distress were over a year on a waiting list for a first appointment.
“This disgraceful and dangerous situation is having a major impact on mental health services in Co Galway. And there is no doubt that closing St Brigid’s will make things worse. Communities in Ballinasloe and beyond have shown great resolve in voicing their opposition to the closure. We need to continue the fight and make our voices heard loud and clear next week,” said Deputy Keaveney.
The public meeting takes place next Thursday, 13 February 2014, at Gullane’s, Main St, Ballinasloe at 8pm.