The Lie of the Land: Psychiatric Service Land Disposal & Failures and Delays in Capital Development of Community Based Mental Health Services

External Affairs & Policy

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The Life of the Land report is published to coincide with the second anniversary of the launch of our National Mental Health Policy, A Vision for Change. We examine the current use, development and disposal of property assets associated with Irish mental hospitals to determine progress in implementing A Vision for Change as its implementation is predicated on the realisation of such assets.

Reference is made to the public building programmes of the Victorian age which led to the creation of mental asylums. These were the largest capital undertakings by governments of the day, acting out of a sense of public duty and responsibility.

Widespread asset stripping of our Victorian asylums and lands is highlighted and little evidence of the corresponding provision and development of the modern and high quality psychiatric facilities envisaged in A Vision for Change. Case examples of asset losses to mental health services at various sites are set out, as illustrations of the various practices and procedures and the consequences of certain decisions which have been made.

We report that in the 2 years since A Vision for Change was published, further annexation of psychiatric assets has occurred, contrary to stated national policy.