Speaking after the meeting Gerry Adams said;
“I want to thank the Manager of Louth Meath Mental Health Services, Ger McCormack and the recently appointed Suicide Prevention Officer for Louth Meath, Sandra Okome for facilitating our meeting.
“During the course of the meeting some worrying issues were identified such as the lack of out of hours support for people located in Dundalk and the surrounding areas.
“Currently out of hours provision is delivered by the North East Doctor on Call (NEDOC) which is located in Drogheda, at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, also based in Drogheda or at St Brigid’s Complex in Ardee. There is no HSE facility in Dundalk for people who are suffering outside of regular office hours.
“SOSAD is the only 24 hour, completely free service available to the 64,000 people who live in Dundalk and the surrounding rural areas. I am well aware of the amazing voluntary work that SOSAD do, however their services are under constant threat of due to lack of resources.”
In addition the Sinn Féin President has expressed concern that the Dundalk base for mental health services, the Ladywell Centre at the Louth Hospital, is a dilapidated prefab.
“There is a lot of excellent work being done by the HSE in Louth to combat suicide,” said Teachta Adams, “This is evidenced by the figures which show a reduction in deaths by suicide in County Louth over the past three years.
“However I don’t believe that staff in the HSE are being properly resourced to do their jobs and this is having a negative impact on patient care and patient experiences.
“In addition to sub-standard accommodation I have received information that the Louth Meath area has the 2nd lowest per capita funding on mental health in the State – this is unacceptable and I intend to write to the acting Health Minister to query why Louth spending on mental health is so low, particularly in light of recent revelations that €12 million of the €35 million ring-fenced for mental health in the last budget is being diverted to other areas in health.”