Leo Varadkar confirms that funds are being taken out of mental health budget
The Minister for Health says that some funding for mental health services will be taken out of the 2016 budget, but will be transferred back in next year.
Leo Varadkar says that any money moved to other parts of the health service this year will return to mental health coffers in 2017.
The Health Minister says that money that had been earmarked for new staff can not be spent this year, and that the transfer was flagged in the HSE's service plan.
This is the piece of the HSE Service Plan 2016 @campaignforleo is citing, signposting shift on mental health funding pic.twitter.com/vR7Xr3XLbj
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) April 20, 2016
Varadkar insisted that the money was set aside to provide 1,550 new staff for mental health but that target was no longer realistic.
Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín O'Caoláin was quick to attack Varadkar's announcement.
"This is absolutely deplorable," he said.
"It is indicative of a government and senior civil service that is out of touch by the realities faced by so many who suffer from mental health issues, and I echo the criticism of mental health reform who very rightly point out that there is absolutely parity of esteem shown between mental and physical health."