– Your Editorial (April 23rd) outlined clearly how this State has completely failed our fellow citizens with mental health problems in a shameful way, and denied them their fundamental rights.
Twenty-five years ago the then Minister for Health Barry Desmond TD published the grand strategy Planning for the Future, and many patients in psychiatric hospitals were literally made homeless because no adequate community care services were provided as envisaged in the plan.
Without support many ended up on the streets. We can testify to that because we still meet many of them as they are counted among people who are still homeless today. Trust has been working in the field since 1975.
Your criticism of the latest grand strategy A Vision for Change, though it should have as a subtitle, the more things change the more they remain the same, because it continues to add to the numbers of people becoming homeless.
The most alarming thing about this cycle of betrayal of the basic human rights of people with mental health problems is that the letter I wrote to the Minister Barry Desmond TD 25 years ago, in response to his plan, I could also write to Mary Harney TD today: “Hostels and night shelters are clearly becoming dumping grounds as we prepare to empty the hospitals”, with the link between community care and the psychiatric services “only on paper.”
– Yours, etc,
Director and Co-Founder,
Bride Road, Dublin 8.