Assurance for mental health clients at Clonmel unit – Prendergast

The welfare of mental health service users is the top priority, Labour MEP
Phil Prendergast said today following the announcement of the closure of
St Michael’s Acute Mental Health Unit in Clonmel.

Around 20 clients at the unit will be transferred to Ennis, Co Clare or
placed in community settings by the end of October as part of a phased
wind-down of the unit. The unit is due to be fully closed by May next

Ms Prendergast said: “The top priority is the welfare of service users.
Mental Health Minister Kathleen Lynch has assured me that all arrangements
will be in place for the first transfer at the end of October and clients
will have an input into the type of service they will require.

“I also welcome the Minister’s confirmation that two new units in Clonmel
will be completed by May next year and that Community Health Teams and
improvements to the unit in Ennis will all be ready for North Tipperary
service users.

“The Fianna Fail-led government wanted to close St Michael’s at the end of
2010 when none of the new services were ready. I successfully resisted
this arguing that changes could not be made until the new modern services
were in place. I am glad to say Minister Lynch shares this view and will
ensure that equivalent or better treatment will be provided to Tipperary’s
mental health service users.

“I remain to be convinced there is enough acute bed capacity overall in
the system because the recession has led to a severe deterioration in the
country’s mental health and existing acute facilities are under constant

“I will be meeting Minister Lynch next week to get further details and to
urge her to ensure future admission policies for Tipperary clients takes
full account of where they live.”

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