Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health Colm Keaveney has hit out at the Government for holding back €35 million in mental health funding for 2016.  The HSE’s service plan has earmarked €35m euro for mental health but fails to say when that money will be spent.

Deputy Keaveney commented, “The HSE service plan is very scant on detail when it comes to the provision of mental health.  While it claims to have earmarked €35m for mental health services, it fails to include any details as to how and where this money will be spent.  Vague references to “further specific initiatives” are not good enough and are just a further example of this Government’s lack of commitment to mental health services.

“The Government and HSE have also failed to outline when this money will be spent.  The service plan includes no timeframe as to how or when this funding will be made available, raising concerns that it may not be distributed at all.

“This Government has a track record in failing to deliver on mental health promises.  For the past four years they have delayed funding allocations, and in 2014 failed to honour them completely.  The Government failed to spend €23m of the €35m allocated for mental health in 2014 and it’s predicted that €37m will be carried over from 2015 into 2016.  Why are Labour and Fine Gael failing to spend the money ring fenced for mental health on these services?  Is this money being used to supplement other areas of the health service which are also under immense pressure?  And if so, why is this happening?

“This cynical and spin obsessed Government is clearly very anxious to announce a funding increase but when it provides no detail of when or how it will be spent, it simply cannot be trusted”.