The Big Question we need to urgently ask ourselves: Is our Penal System in Tatters? Mental health that Cinderella that is basically defunded.

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Hospital now ‘too full’ to take in man accused of murder

  7 hrs ago

A murder accused who has psychiatric issues cannot be admitted to the Central Mental Hospital as it is full, the High Court has heard.

It is a second case in recent days highlighting difficulties caused by a lack of capacity at the hospital.

Lawyers for Sean Murphy (26) have issued proceedings seeking an inquiry into the lawfulness of his detention at Cloverhill Prison, arguing he should instead be receiving treatment at the hospital. The High Court heard there was no place available for him and even if one opened up, he was behind others in a waiting list.

Mr Murphy is charged with the murder of Michael Olohan at St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin on August 13 last.

He had been living at a HSE-operated low-support independent living residence for people with mental health difficulties at the time.

His lawyers issued proceedings seeking an Article 40 inquiry into the lawfulness of his detention last Friday.

When the matter was mentioned before Mr Justice Charles Meenan yesterday, barrister Donal McGuinness for the Central Mental Hospital said the facility was full and he was not in a position to offer the court any indication Mr Murphy would be admitted in the immediate future.

“Unfortunately, there are people ahead of him on that list because they are even more deserving and need a place more than he does,” Mr McGuinness said.

The court heard Mr Murphy’s detention at Cloverhill had been certified as lawful as it was pursuant to a remand from a court.

Mr Justice Meenan queried whether he could direct a medical institution to admit somebody if the institution was not in a position to provide them with care.

He adjourned the matter for a hearing on Friday.

The case is the most recent to highlight capacity issues at the hospital.

An Irish Penal Reform Trust report highlighted how in April 2019 there were 29 prisoners awaiting transfer there.

The facility in Dundrum is the State’s only institution for holding and treating severely mentally ill people caught up in the criminal justice system.

The 103-bed hospital is due to be replaced soon by a larger 170-capacity facility in Portrane, north Co Dublin.

Last Friday a Circuit Criminal Court judge expressed concern a mentally ill man was in danger of being released from custody on to the streets due to a lack of a place for him at the Central Mental Hospital.

John Delaney (26) was charged with assault at a homeless shelter in Finglas, Dublin on February 18.

Following evidence from a psychiatrist, Judge Martin Nolan said he was satisfied the accused was unfit to stand trial.

However, the judge delayed Delaney’s release, saying he was being “put in a terrible position” of being asked to release a man “that is probably unfit to be released”.

The release was finally ordered yesterday after homeless accommodation and a referral to mental health services was organised.

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