Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health and TD for Wexford James Browne says Fine Gael has utterly failed children with mental health issues and is pledging to provide better services for vulnerable children if Fianna Fáil if elected to government.

He was commenting after it emerged that €225,000 has been spent on rent for a promised mental health facility, which is still not open, despite being announced more than two years ago.

Deputy Browne said, “Fine Gael has failed to act to tackle the escalating mental health crisis facing this country. Waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are shockingly high in some areas, which stems from the fact that the service has barely over half the staff it needs.

“There are also issues with the admission of children and teenagers to adult units; in 2018 there were 84 children and adolescents admitted to adult units across the country. This is an appalling indictment of this government’s attitude towards our mental health services.

“Arden House was meant to relieve the pressure on this overburdened system and provide a safe environment for vulnerable children and teens. This project was announced back in the summer of 2017 but two and a half years on and the facility is still not open.

“What is also worrying is the fact that the taxpayer is picking up a tab of €225,000, which the HSE has paid out in rent since the announcement was made.

“The existing facilities at Slaney House are clearly not fit for purpose and are, I believe, a serious obstacle in attracting a child psychiatrist to work in Wexford.

“Children and teenagers deserve better than a government which believes that announcements alone are enough and lose interest in the delivery of services once the cameras have stopped rolling. This facility needs to be opened as a matter of urgency and Fianna Fáil is the only party which will deliver the mental health services this country needs”.