The situation with regard to maternity services throughout the country and the unsatisfactory response of the authorities on serious mental issues in the western region were issues raised by me in the Dail in Wednesday evening last, The discussion came up during a debate on the report on maternity services at Portlaoise Hospital. Minister of State Kathleen Lynch represented the Government. Here is what I said…………….
“We offer our condolences to the parents who have …lost their babies, be it in Portlaoise hospital or any other hospital around the country. It is a harrowing time when something goes wrong for the parents. Down my part of the country in Ballinasloe, this issue has come into the limelight as well. When we do an inquiry into all of this and find out what is going wrong, we need to be upfront with parents, explain everything, and be transparent and ensure that we rectify the issue and put in the resources”
“There is one other thing we need to do for expectant mothers in all of these different hospitals. We need to ensure that we put out the word that a lot of children are born in this country and for most families there are no problems. People should not be frightened. My children were born in Portiuncla hospital, where we got a great service. However, there is pressure on front-line services. These people, be they consultants or nurses, are working flat out. They deserve great credit. We need to learn from the mistakes and we need to be transparent. However, we need to make sure that whatever resources are required are put in to these hospitals for the expectant mothers and the children of the future”
“There is one other thing I wish to say about health services in general and I have a request for the Minister of State. We have a major problem in Roscommon and East Galway in respect of mental health services. Money is being sent back to the Minister of State’s Department. I am not laying the blame at her table. However, I spent three hours one night trying to get a person who was going to commit suicide into a hospital. That person had to be driven to Dublin. Senior people in authority in the West of Ireland, in the areas of Roscommon and East Galway, are basically giving the two fingers to the ordinary people. What is going on is intolerable. There are parts of the country, not far from there, where there is a very good mental health service. Will the Minister of State look into this issue as well? What is going on in our area cannot go on any longer. I was promised a meeting with those people and got an e-mail saying they could not meet us. They never recognised us after that point. That is not good enough for a public representative. They should be answerable. Will the Minister of State call them to order?