Moving mental facility to Thornton Hall ill advised
John Moloney, the new Minister for State with responsibility for Mental Health, has a genuine commitment to improving mental health facilities and to reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems. In private therefore he must be concerned by the insistence of the government on going ahead with the relocation of the Central Mental Hospital from Dundrum to the site of the new prison at Thornton Hall in North County Dublin.
The association of mental illness with criminality reinforces the stigma. The decision is one of the most callous decisions of any government in recent years, influenced by the huge value the Dundrum site commands and the convenience the relocation offers the prison service in transporting mentally ill prisoners from the main prison to a mental hospital. The interests of mentally ill patients and concern for the stigma, apparently, has had no bearing on the decision. It was expected that with the diminished role of the Progressive Democrats in government, the decision would be reversed. But not so, apparently.