A CORK mother whose husband killed their two children before killing himself is calling on the government to do more than pay lip service to calls to involve families in the care of mental health patients.
Ballycotton woman Una Butler, whose husband John murdered their daughters Zoe and Ella before killing himself in November 2010, has campaigned since then to have families involved in the care of family members with mental health difficulties.
She believes her children would still be alive if she had been involved in the care of her husband.
The deaths of Zoe, Ella and John featured in last night’s episode of Dr Cassidy’s Casebook on RTÉ1.
Una Butler is in contact with Andrew McGinley, whose three children – Darragh, Conor and Carla – were killed by their mum Deirdre Morley.
Ms Morley was found not guilty of murdering them, by reason of insanity, last week.
Now, her husband is adamant that other families should not have to go through the same pain as his family and that of Ms Butler.
Minister Mary Butler, who has responsibility for mental health, will propose new legislation next month to allow family members to be involved in the care of a relative receiving psychiatric treatment.
However, the measure will only be possible where a patient consents.
But Ms Butler believes that relatives need to be involved whether or not a patient consents.
She said: “I hope the government will listen and that this is not just lip service and that they will look into it in great detail.”
She said in hindsight, she should have been involved in the medical treatment of John.
She added: “The welfare of children has to be paramount.”
She said it is crucial for family involvement in a person’s treatment be put on a legislative footing, adding that risk assessments should also be carried out.
She believes that relatives can be involved without a patient’s confidentiality being broken.
She added: “It has to be done to prevent further cases like these happening.”