Home > Seanad Éireann debate. Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Fund Bill 2014: Second Stage.

[Oireachtas] Seanad Éireann debate. Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Fund Bill 2014: Second Stage. (02 Jul 2014)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/seanad...

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Acting Chairman (Senator Michael Comiskey): I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy O'Dowd, to the House. I call on Senator MacSharry to speak and he has ten minutes.

Senator Marc MacSharry: I welcome the Minister of State to the House. I am glad of the opportunity to put forward the Bill this evening and thank Senators Leyden and Darragh O'Brien for co-sponsoring it. The issue is very close to all of our hearts. At least Senator Gilroy, who has done a great deal of work with regards to the health committee and is a health professional, is no stranger to the issues that I shall raise here today.

 I know that the Minster of State, Deputy Lynch, is not available. I wish her well and hope she is recovering well. I am sorry that the Minister for Health was not available to attend. In fairness, he is very good at coming here. He does make himself available to us very regularly and was here earlier today. Given the importance of this issue I would have preferred that he attended. Notwithstanding that I am delighted to have the Minister of State, Deputy O'Dowd, in attendance. I know that he will take the Bill on its merit and in the spirit in which it has been put forward.

 Last year I published a document that Senator Gilroy will be familiar with, called Actions Speak Louder than Words. The common denominator of my policy document was an admission that politicians do not have the solutions to this silent crisis. We all participate in the endless rhetoric that takes place in these Houses when there is an incident of suicide, a loss of life through suicide or a report, as there was in recent weeks, on the national mental health service. The indignant rhethoric of all us demanding that action be taken, how this crisis cannot continue and so on is deafening at times. However, when it comes to political leadership and political will to take the appropriate measures we all fall short, which is not to overly criticise this Government any more than it is to absolve previous Administrations.

 My document put forward a structure and resources that we believe needs to be put in place so that the experts, such as people from Senator Gilroy's profession, the people in the National Office for Suicide Prevention, the people in the Samaritans, Console and the various other organisations, both voluntary and professional, throughout the country can begin to peel back the blindfold that is on the phenomenon of loss of life through suicide. The measures were estimated to cost in the region of €90 million. Where would one possibly find that amount of money at a time when we are trying to nurse so many deficits throughout all the Departments and so many cutbacks?

[Click on this link to read the full debate on the Oireachtas website]

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