A CORK TD has criticised the government for not making dual diagnosis of mental health issues and addiction a priority.
Last month, Deputy Thomas Gould and Sinn Fein colleague Deputy Mark Ward introduced the Dual Diagnosis: No Wrong Door Bill in the Dáil.
Deputy Gould is the Sinn Féin spokesman on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing.
Last year, the Government included a plan to progress the National Clinical Programme for Dual Diagnosis in its Programme for Government, as part of a list of measures aimed at tackling the area of substance misuse.
The two deputies want the issue of dual diagnosis to be given priority because of a previous lack of progress in the area.
Now, Deputy Gould says: "In statements in the Dáil, Minister for State Mary Butler mentioned that a National Clinical Lead had been appointed in the area of Dual Diagnosis. She called this ‘significant progress’.
He is also concerned that the Dual Diagnosis Working Group has not met since late 2018 and a new Clinical Director was only recently put into the position.
He continued: "This is a disgrace. In the meantime, the much mentioned Working Group on Dual Diagnosis has not met. In over 2 years, there has been no progress by this group on Dual Diagnosis. Finally filling a vacant post is not significant progress. It is shambolic that it has taken over two years to recruit somebody to this vital role."
He said a "properly functioning dual diagnosis service" could have benefited many people in the past two years.