Submission to the Department of Health on the Mental Health Act 2001

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

 

Yesterday the Government made a decision to approve the heads of bill to amend the Mental Health Act 2001.  Recently Dr Mary Keys, Dr Catriona Moloney, Dr Fiona Morrisey and Dr Charles O’Mahony made a submission to the Department of Health on this draft legislation.  In their submission they discussed how the Mental Health Act 2001 is at odds with Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  They argue that a cultural shift is needed to realise the rights in the CRPD, and align with the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, and the Mental Health Amendment Act 2018. The submission can be downloaded here: Submission to the Department of Health on the Mental Health Act 2001

Dr Mary Keys is a leading authority on mental health law and policy. She was a lecturer in the School of Law, NUI Galway from 1999 until early retirement in 2014. She was awarded a Ph.D. by the Cardiff University Law School, University of Wales, in 2006 on the topic of human rights and mental health law. Her main research focus is on mental health law and policy. Mary served two terms as a member of the Mental Health Commission, having been appointed as the representative of the public interest. Prior to becoming a full-time member of staff in the School of Law she worked as a psychiatric social worker in the mental health services in Ireland and in the United Kingdom. She was a founding member of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway. Her research explores mental health, regional and international human rights law. Mary chaired a subcommittee of the Mental Health Commission, which prepared its submission on the Review of the Mental Health Act 2001. Mary’s expertise is regularly drawn upon by governmental and non-governmental bodies seeking her advice on complex legal issues in the areas such as mental health law and policy, health law and policy and legal capacity. Mary has played an important role in advocating for the human rights of service users, ex-users, and survivors of psychiatry in Ireland.

Dr Catriona Moloney has lectured in Disability Law at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland Galway and at the University of Limerick. Catriona has a Bachelor of Civil Law and an LLM in Public Law. She was awarded her PhD entitled “Empowering Children and Young People: An Access to Justice Assessment of Mental Health Law and Policy” for which she was awarded a School of Law (NUIG) Scholarship to undertake this research. Catriona was a full-time legal researcher for the Law Reform Commission from 2008–2010 where she worked on the Commission’s statue law restatement programme. Catriona was also a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School’s Project on Disability during the summer of 2013. She was appointed to the Board of EPIC (Empowering Young People in Care) in 2014, EPIC advocates at a national and local level for the rights of young people in and with care experience. In April 2018 she was appointed to a panel of Research and Policy Specialists on matters related to children’s rights and welfare at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office.

Dr Fiona Morrissey is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Centre for Disability Law & Policy, School of Law at NUI Galway. Dr Morrissey is a Disability Law Research/Training Consultant who has worked with the World Health Organisation on the development and delivery of the QualityRights training and e-learning programme. This UN programme supports countries to develop and implement human rights-based capacity, supported decision-making and mental health laws, policies, and practices in line with UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Fiona has extensive knowledge of and expertise in Irish mental health law and has been recently appointed as a Lay Member of the Mental Health Tribunals by the Mental Health Commission.

Dr Charles O’Mahony is a lecturer in the School of Law at NUI Galway. He was Head of the School of Law from 2017-2021. He completed a PhD at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway entitled “Diversion: A Comparative Study of Law and Policy Relating to Defendants and Offenders with Mental Health Problems and Intellectual Disability”. Charles was elected as President of the Irish Association of Law Teachers (IALT) from 2014-2016. He previously worked as Amnesty International Ireland’s Legal Officer on its mental health campaign and as a legal researcher for the Law Reform Commission of Ireland.

Keywords: Press.

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