July 1, 2022
The government have missed an opportunity to make Ireland a world leader in capacity legislation – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said that the government have missed an  opportunity to make Ireland a world leader in capacity legislation

The government  did not accept any opposition amendments to the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Act during report stage last night.

Speaking after the report  stage debate, Teachta Ward said:

“I support the need to reform how wardships of court are legislated for in the state but the government have  missed an  opportunity to make Ireland a world leader in capacity legislation

“The legislation simply does not go far enough.

“As the legislation stands, people who are involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act do not have the right to have their advance health care directives respected.

“An Advance Healthcare Directive is a statement set out by someone when they have capacity to make decisions, about their will and preferences for care and treatment in the future

“Even though a person  had capacity to make decisions about their mental health care and treatment at the time of making their directive it may not be adhered too if they are  subsequently detained under the mental health act.

“There is no other group of individuals that are specifically excluded from this legal right in this legislation.

“This exclusion is contrary to international human rights standards, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

“People who have a long history of mental illness know better than anyone what treatment works best for them.

“Mental health difficulties are often episodic which means the person is likely to have prior experience of treatment and so are informed and knowledgeable when writing Advanced Health Care Directive .

 “In lay man terms what this will mean for people involuntary  detained under the mental health act is that they will be discriminated against.

“Todays report from the Mental Health Commission  state that over 2500 people were involuntary detained under the mental health act in 2021.

“If these 2500 people  go to the trouble of doing a advanced health care directive and they are subsequently detained under the mental health act , their wishes may not be adhered to.

“No other group in society is excluded like this

 “Every citizen in this state must be afforded an equal right to exercise their will and preference and this must apply to mental as well as physical health.”

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