Morning Briefing, 5th March

Good Morning,I hope no one is suffering from ill effects of superstitions linked to lunar eclipses!!! (or still suffering from hangovers from the Irish Blog Awards or whatever they got up to at the weekend!!)

An Nuachtr ar an maidin seo!

Fine Gael are to introduce a bill into the Dáil this week to outlaw the sexual “grooming” of children on the Internet. (Breakingnews) This is well overdue having been on the order paper since 2004!

A new poll out today shows 68% of those surveyed would support a ban on hare coursing with 72% agreeing its a cruel practice (RTÉ). I am against hunting in Ireland, and actually spoke against it at my very first YFG Conference way back when.

A leading psychiatrist, Professor Patricia Casey, has branded Irish psychiatric services a ‘third world country’ (Irish Examiner). From my own experiences shes right. I have a appointment on Thursday in the CUH, and I will be waiting a long time to be seen!

The Cherokee Nation has voted out descendants of freed slaves from the Tribe. (CNN) This has led to accusations of racism. Well in my opinion, its not exactly fair like!

That’s all for now!


Morning Briefing, 21st February

Dia Duit!

Well between the Govt. delaying the Civil Union Bill 2006 and the Polish President making homophobic remarks in Ireland (RTÉ) I’m really pissed off!

The UK are to make an announcement on withdrawal of troops from Iraq (RTÉ) It is thought likely that Mr Blair will make any announcement in an oral statement to the House of Commons following his regular weekly appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions. I hope he does pull ’em out

At 5:00pm this evening the Seanad will debate the Mental Capacity and Guardianship Bill 2007, please if you know a senator ask them to vote for it.

The Civil Unions Bill 2006 also goes to a vote this evening after the continuation of the debate at 7:00p, tonight.

Trocaire has launched an online neworking site called ‘Just World’

Thats all i can find for now!



Young Fine Gael (YFG) have today called on the Government to implement a proactive nationwide campaign modelled on the Northern Ireland ‘Rethink’ campaign addressing the stigma and taboo relating to mental illness, depression and suicide.

“Rethink, which is mainly Government funded, uses a TV advertisement with a high profile celebrity from Coronation Street (‘Steve McDonald’ / Simon Gregson) to show that mental health is an illness like any other and should not be stigmatised”, according to YFG President, Elizabeth Munnelly.

“A high profile campaign here will encourage young people to seek help and advice. One in four Irish people will suffer some form of mental illness during their lifetime. Suicide accounts for 3 out of every 10 deaths in the 15-24 age group and is the most common cause of death in young males. In 2004 11,200 presented at A&E having deliberately self-harmed.

“Every 45 minutes another Irish person attempts suicide. Our Government needs to wake up and realise that young people’s issues are not trivial but serious and need to be tackled urgently,” said Munnelly.

Video Here

Its is an excellent campaign.

Posters and pictures of the campaign:

New service of Mental health Service Users!

Recntly Schizophrenia Ireland has moved its offices from Penrose Quay to 32 South Terrace, but whats really interesting is whats happening in the Basement of number 32.

Over the past few months a drop-in Resource Centre, called the Basement Resource Centre, has been set up on partnership model, with members and staff working together. It is an excellent service and I sometimes work reception.

Its is open 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday and Friday is in fact an open day for all those with an interest in mental health services in Cork!

List of services:

– Internet
– Creative Writing
– Arts and Crafts (Coming soon)
– Counselling

among others

Hanafin’s bluff won’t disguise educational psychological services mess – Enright

51% of primary schools still not covered by NEPS
When will target for educational psychologists – set in 1999 – be met?

Olwyn Enright TD, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Education and Science has today (Thursday) said that Minister Mary Hanafin cannot bluff her way out of the current mess surrounding access to educational psychological services for children and young people.

‘Speaking on RTE Morning Ireland today, Minister Mary Hanafin stated that Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats are constantly expanding the services offered by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS). In many homes, this statement will have been greeted with a hollow laugh.

‘Between February 2005 and December 2006, the number of primary schools without access to the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) increased by 160. Information released to me by the Department of Education and Science confirms that whilst 1,522 primary schools were not covered by NEPS in February 2005, this figure was up to 1,682 schools last month.

‘In her latest damage limitation exercise, the Minister has also announced the recruitment this year of an additional 31 educational psychologists. This means that by 2008 the target of 184 educational psychologists needed by NEPS – which was set in 1999 and should have been met by 2004 – will still be little more than a ‘noble aspiration’, an increasingly apt phrase when looking at this Government’s record in education.

‘With considerable understatement, Minister Hanafin did concede that not every school in the country was covered by NEPS – well, that’s one way of acknowledging that 51% of primary schools are still outside the system, eights years after it was first established.

‘Minister Hanafin is still just playing ‘catch-up’ on this issue, and has not even begun to consider the demands that are coming down the track for Ireland’s education system. Department of Education figures show that the number of children in primary education will increase by at least 58,000, but where is the planning now to ensure that these children will have access to a proper, working service by the time they are in the system?

‘Minister Hanafin also referred – repeatedly – to the scheme for commissioning private psychological assessments which is available to schools. She did not acknowledge, though she knows full well, that many schools have far more students who require assessment than they are allowed to commission privately. The scheme for commissioning private assessments is in no way an alternative to the full roll out of NEPS services.

‘Finally, Minister Hanafin seemed to suggest that the St Vincent de Paul charity were in some way misguided in spending their money commissioning psychological assessments for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The St Vincent de Paul can certainly speak for themselves, but given the facts – the appalling access to the service, the considerable regional imbalances in access to NEPS, and the restrictions on the number of private assessments that can be commissioned – I believe that the Minister is on thin ice here as well.’

Scandal that children rely on charity, not Govt, for psychological assessment – Enright

Additional allocation of €5 million for 2007 could have provided NEPS service to all schoolsFine Gael Education and Science Spokesperson Olwyn Enright TD has today (Wednesday) described the revelation that a charity has been forced to fund more than 1,000 psychological assessments for children in need as a new low for this Government.

‘Today’s report that the St Vincent de Paul charity has funded psychological assessments for more than 1,000 children and young people is the latest indication of the flawed commitment of this Government to the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), and a new low for Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats.

‘One of the key duties of Minister Mary Hanafin is to ensure that children with specific educational needs or difficulties, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, are able to reach their potential within the education system. This is a duty that she has shirked since assuming office, and the consequences for children will be serious and long-felt.

‘When NEPS was established in 1999, a target of 184 psychologists working within the service was set. This target was supposed to have been met by 2004, when all schools were supposed to have access to NEPS. However, the Government is still short of this target by more than 50 posts. In actual fact, figures released to me in late 2006 showed that the number of primary schools covered by the service is actually in decline.

‘Between February 2005 and December 2006 the number of primary schools without access to NEPS has risen by 160. These schools have dropped off the NEPS radar due to the failure of this Government to live up to a promise made eight years ago. Today, 51% of primary schools in the State are not covered by NEPS.

‘An additional allocation of €5 million for 2007, on top of the amount set aside in the estimates last November, would have allowed for all schools to be covered by the NEPS service. The revelation that charitable organisations are now picking up the slack for this Government by commissioning and paying for private psychological assessments shows that this additional allocation should have been made.

‘This funding is needed now, as access to the psychological services provided by NEPS is vital for children and young people with special educational needs. Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats should be ashamed to rely on charities to provide services to those who need them, and who are entitled to assistance from the State.’

This is typical of the FF/PD government, setting up programs with great fan fare and then underfunding them! When will they cop on. These are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, and they deserve all the hlep they can get. Thankfully in Ireland we have great charities live the SdVP who step in to fill the gap left by the government.

Come no Hanafin show your potential, and people say she will be the next leader of FF.

Morning Briefing, December 21st

Well, im in a festive spirit today! Im cuurently wearing my santa hat (with added plats) and red flashing nose. The bus driver of the number 14 did better than me though this morining dressed in a full santa suit!!! reports on crticisim for Transport 21 from the ERSI and Fine Gael.

It also reports that traditional psychiatric hospitals will be closed by 2010.

BreakingNews also reports that election results in Iran have been won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opponents.

France 24 reports on the death of Turkmenistein’s President, Saparmurat Niyazov.

CNN reports on uproar in Italy over a ‘gay navity, scene.

RTÉ reports that the General Election will be a summer election after comments by Bertie Ahern.

Merry Christmas! as im not sure if ill be onlinbe over the next few days!!

Happy Christmas & a prosperous new year

Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit.

IMO: Extra resources for mental health not enough

The Irish Medical Organisation says the €25m allocated to mental-health services in yesterday’s Budget doesn’t go far enough.

The organisation is welcoming the extra money, but says it won’t make a huge difference to waiting lists.

Almost €8m has been specifically designated for the development of child and adolescent services, but the IMO says around €50m is needed to fully improve that service alone.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State with Responsibility for Mental Health says he is not happy with delays in treatment services for children.

Tim O’Malley was responding today to further questions arising out of last Monday night’s TV documentary on services for children with psychiatric problems.

He confirmed that he had been in contact with one of the families involved in the documentary and was trying to get services for them.

“I’m not satisfied and nobody could be satisfied with the inordinate delays and bureaucracy that they’ve had to go through,” he said.


Mental health provision of €25m ‘a mere sop’

THE provision of an estimated €25 million in mental health spending was described as inadequate and “a mere sop” by the Psychiatric Nurses’ Organisation. Spokesman Seamus Murphy expressed his disappointment with the gesture by Finance Minister Brian Cowen.

There were also uncertainties about where the money would be spent and if the €25m mentioned in yesterday’s Budget was additional to the €21m provided in the estimates for 2007.

Mr Murphy said he posed that question because €25m alone would be far from adequate to restore proper supports and services.

He said that €46m would also fall far short of a realistic spend on mental health.

The mental health budget had dwindled from 11% of the overall health budget in the 1990s to about 7% today.

In an European context the scenario was even more sobering. “Ireland has one of the lowest levels of spending on mental health than most other European countries,” he said.

European average spend was 13% of overall health budgets and Ireland trailed well behind that, he said.

Yesterday, the minister promised the provision of additional community-based mental health facilities, including mental health day centres, day hospitals and community residential facilities.

The Budget also made reference to the proposed appointment of extra front-line staff to enhance the level and range of multi-disciplinary support services available to adults and children with mental illness “in order to support the continued implementation of A Vision for Change”.

Additional funding would be made available to support the continued implementation of Reach Out National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention 2005-2014, the minister said.

These measures will cost an estimated €25m in 2007, according to the minister.


Irish people more likely to seek psychological help – EU report

Irish people are more likely than any other EU population to seek help from a doctor for psychological or emotional health problems, according to figures released today.

Every year, one in four European adults are affected by mental health problems, according to the latest Euro-barometer report on the state of mental well-being across the EU.

91% of Irish respondents said they had sought help for a psychological or emotional problem over the past 12 months – more than in any other country surveyed.

Irish people also topped the poll when it came to the percentage who said pain does not interfere with their physical activities.

82% of Irish people said they felt happy all or most of the time, but only 67% said they felt calm and peaceful – that’s just above the EU average of 63%, and well below the Finns at 83%.


Thats surprising. I thought we Irish were uptight about our mental health but im glad we’re not. I hope the Government corresponds and puts enough money into mental health services now.