#IAmAReason takes over Twitter amid mental health outrage

People have also expressed frustration that very few Dáil members turned up for a debate

mental health, Dail debate, TDs, funding, HSE, Ireland, Niall Breslin, Twitter, IAmAReason

Niall (Bressie) Breslin at the European premiere of 'Oblivion' at The Savoy in Dublin | Image: Niall Carson / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Scores of people have been taking to social media to vent their anger at cuts to mental health services.

Twitter users have also expressed their frustration at claims that few members of the Dáil turned up for a debate on mental health in the chamber on Tuesday.

Early estimates had put the number at just some 10 deputies out of 158. However, this figure was later disputed.

One TD who was there, Fine Gael's Kate O'Connell, described it as a "disappointing attendance".

People are using the 'IAmAReason' hashtag to show there are faces behind the names, and numbers.

Musician Niall Breslin - who has spoken before an Oireachtas Committee on the issue - asked people to contact their local TD, and see if they attended the debate.

He also tweeted:

Mental Health Reform says the Department of Health has not yet released any of the €35m in development funding for mental health to the Health Service Executive (HSE), which was supposed to be ring-fenced in Budget 2016.

The national director for mental health services in the HSE, Anne O'Connor, explained that the additional development funding was to recruit staff and develop new services.

However she told RTÉ: "Funding actually sits with the Department of Health at the moment. So it hasn't come to me, or come to the HSE".

The Director of Mental Health Reform, Dr Shari McDaid, described the delay in releasing these funds as "extremely worrying".

"Not only has mental health funding had its budget reduced in 2016 by €12m, it has not even received the reduced pot of funding after almost four months into the year".

"This completely avoidable delay in releasing funds means that the development of new services will also be delayed".

Protests are also planned for Dublin and Cork to highlight the situation.

A national demonstration is planned for Thursday April 28th by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and Mental Health Reform outside the Dáil.

There will be a solidarity event in Cork City on Daunt Square at 12.30pm.