There were mass protests outside the Dáil on April 28, as hundreds gathered to oppose the government’s proposed cuts to its mental health budget.
The money set aside for mental health currently stands at €35 million but suggested cuts in 2016 would see this figure drop by a third.
The government intends to divert €12 million to other areas of the Health Service Executive but opponents have called for full budget protection.
Part of the motivation for protesters was the 148 empty Dail seats during the discussions on Mental Health this week.
— Jamie Malone (@Jamie_Malone) April 26, 2016
The protesters, led by the Mental Health Reform advocacy group and the Union of Students in Ireland, gathered outside Leinster House to voice their concerns.
It was attended by various TDs from Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, as well as a number of Independents.
Hundreds were there to lend their support, as they stood outside the gates on Kildare Street crying “cuts cost lives”, “mental health can’t wait”, and “no ifs, no buts, no mental health cuts”.
— The College View (@thecollegeview) April 28, 2016
As talks surrounding the formation of a new government continue, they also challenged the next administration to make health policy a priority.
Sinn Féin spokesman for health, Caoimhghin O Caolain, described the fund diversion plan as “diabolical” and called on Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to protect the entire €35 million budget.
— Aoife Ní ShúilíHooly (@Aoifva) April 26, 2016
“That is absolutely wrong, it’s diabolical, and I absolutely reject it.”