Irish Independent | Eilish O’Regan

The Government was at the centre of a “dishonest spin” row yesterday after it emerged a Budget-day pledge to give an extra €35m to alleviate the crisis in mental health services will amount to as little as €15m in spending next year.

The news was met with shock and dismay by the organisation Mental Health Reform, which said the state of many psychiatric services was leaving many vulnerable people in distress, including hundreds of children who were waiting more than a year to see a psychiatrist.

Efforts by the Irish Independent yesterday to speak to Health Minister Simon Harris about the controversy – and query why a Department of Health Budget-day press release failed to mention the €15m figure – were unsuccessful.

The clarification on reduced funding first emerged in a Dáil question put by Fianna Fáil’s James Browne to Minister of State Helen McEntee.

She confirmed that just €15m of this additional money would be spent in 2017.

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