August 17, 2023
Funding for trainee counselling psychologists must be universal – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called on the Government to act to fund all of the places for trainee counselling psychologists at Trinity College Dublin in the coming academic year.

Last year the Government provided funding for only 10 of the 14 trainee counselling psychologists in Trinity, leaving 4 trainees at a disadvantage to their classmates.

Teachta Ward said:

“I have received correspondence from new counselling psychology students for the upcoming academic year who have reported that 4 out of 14 positions at Trinity College Dublin will not receive funding towards their training. I have had engagement with stakeholders who have reported the same.

“I have contacted the Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler TD, whose response did not give clarity or certainty for unfunded students.

“This is extremely disappointing, especially given that there has been a long campaign to bring parity for pay with their Trainee Clinical Psychologists peers. There will not even be parity within their own course.

“This will mean that 10 individuals will receive funding towards their fees. They will also be paid for their work while 4 of their classmates will go without.

“The reality of this means that these 4 people will have to reconsider their options and I have received correspondence from students that this is already happening.

“More needs to be done to provide certainty for these applicants, particularly during this mental health crisis where we are crying out for increased staff.

“The Minister has stated that this administrative decision for eligibility lies with the HSE and Trinity College Dublin, but I have received a PQ response from the HSE to say the structure of the funding was being finalised by the Department of Health. Clarity needs to be provided.

“Counselling psychologists help patients to address emotional social or physical stressors in their lives.

“I have spoken with stakeholders in this area and they have concerns on how this will impact on trainee counselling psychologist taking up positions and how will it impact on the future workforce.

“The Government, once again, has turned an open goal into an own goal.

“We need to expand the staff that are available and pay parity is one of the ways to ensure this happens.

“Sinn Féin’s alternative budget outlined how we would address the disparity between how different psychologist positions are funded

“I am calling on the Minister and Government to act quickly on this and give certainty for the upcoming academic year.”

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