Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has said that claims this week that funding was in place for the e-Mental Health Hub in Castlerea were “absolute rubbish” and “belittled an important service”.
Deputy Kerrane was responding to Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy, who this week said Minister Mary Butler had confirmed to him that funding was in place for staffing for 2021.
Senator Murphy said that contrary to recent media reports, he could “categorically confirm” that funding is in place to recruit further staff to the €2.6 million facility which only opened last year.
Senator Murphy said that staffing for the hub would be funded in this year’s budget.
“There were obviously difficulties due to the HSE cyberware attack and the Covid pandemic, but Minister Butler has confirmed that funding is in place for staffing in the 2021 Budget,” he said.
“This commitment from the Department of Health will include the development of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and a Psychiatry of Later Life day hospital. These are vital services for the region and will benefit individuals and families who are faced with Mental Health problems,” Senator Murphy added.
However, Deputy Kerrane said Senator Murphy’s claims were “misleading”.
“It’s absolute rubbish to be honest. If there really is funding there now then that’s great but it’s certainly not true to say the funding was in place (in 2020 and 2021) for this service. The information I received came from the head of mental health services in the west and from a reply to a parliamentary question. The HSE even confirmed that the funding wasn’t there.
“This service is so important, to be perfectly honest, and it certainly doesn’t deserve to be kicked around. I really hope that the funding is in place now and we can move on with developing this vital service,” she said.