Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD says the new Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care will play an important role in helping shape the future of mental health services in Ireland.

Deputy Browne made the comments following the first meeting of the committee earlier today.

Deputy Browne said, “Fianna Fáil has long maintained that a specific forum is needed to help drive the process of reforming our mental health services. Last April we proposed the establishment of an Oireachtas Mental Health Committee to help achieve this and we wrote to all party whips seeking their support. I also met with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and stressed the need for such a committee to be established without delay.

“The establishment of this committee is a positive development as it will help drive reform in our mental health services. The ‘Vision for Change’ policy document was published in 2006 yet many of its recommendations remain to be implemented. This committee will examine the document in detail and will determine what steps need to be taken to ensure its full implantation.

“Senator Joan Freeman was elected at today’s meeting of the committee. I proposed Senator Freeman for this position as I believe she is best positioned to guide the work of the committee in a constructive manner. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members in the coming months in addressing the glaring deficiencies in our mental health services,” concluded Deputy Browne.