County Wexford has been abandoned says Deputy Wallace
'Wexford is an abandoned county', Deputy Mick Wallace claimed in the Dáil on Thursday.
During frank exchanges with Minister Leo Varadkar over cuts to addiction and mental health services, the Independent TD said: 'It is hard to credit that Wexford has the second highest suicide rate in country. It has one of the highest illiteracy rates and one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country. We have an unemployment rate of just under 24 per cent. It is an abandoned county.'
Deputy Wallace went on to say that there was a strong link between substance abuse and mental illness and while he was very aware that the Government didn't have unlimited funds, Wexford had suffered more than most areas.
'Successive budgets have slashed up to 25 per cent of provision in this area. We have no 24-hour acute mental health facility in the county. The Cornmarket project in Wexford, which provides a drug rehabilitation programme, has noted a yearly increase of 20 per cent in the number of clients accessing its drug rehabilitation programme.'
The outspoken TD said it was also alarming that many Wexford people in need of time-sensitive mental health treatment have been left with no access to the acute service following the relocation and merger of Waterford and Wexford services.
Wallace then called on Minister Varadkar to consider putting in place a 24-hour acute mental health service at Wexford General Hospital. 'The facility to provide for it is there… I do not know what it would cost but it is something he should consider.'