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Ms Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People has announced the establishment and membership of an Expert Group to review the Mental Health Act 2001.

The group consists of: Dr Pat Bracken, Consultant Psychiatrist; Caitriona Browne, Mental Health Nurse Manager;  Lisa Corrigan,Occupational Therapy Manager; Dr Mary Donnelly, Senior Lecturer, UCC, Dr Rita Doyle, GP; Patricia Gilheaney, CEO, Mental Health Commission; Des Hogan, Acting CEO, Irish Human Rights Commission; Áine Hynes, Solicitor; Dr Brendan Kelly, Consultant Psychiatrist; Tony Leahy, National Mental Health Planning Specialist, HSE; Luke Mulligan (Chair), Department of Health; Dr Edmond O’Dea, Principal Clinical Psychologist; John Redican, National Service Users Executive; Joan Regan, Department of Health; and Gerry Steadman, Department of Health.

The review, it was agreed, would be carried out in two parts. The first phase of the review would be undertaken by a Steering Group and would seek to scope out the key areas of the Act to be examined and analysed. The Steering Group would then make recommendations in an Interim Report which would be referred for the second and substantive phase of the review, to the above Expert Group who would be principally tasked with fleshing out the Steering Group recommendations.

The terms of reference for the Expert Group include: To examine each of the recommendations of the Interim Report on the review of the Mental Health Act 2001, and propose which recommendations can be agreed without further assessment or modification and establish which recommendations require further analysis before being finalised and reach conclusions in respect of the issues concerned.

The group  will also be required to make decisions on those areas where the Steering Group had offered choices rather than specific recommendations; to consider Departmental proposals for amending the Mental Health Act which pre-dated the Steering Group report and recommend a course of action in respect of those matters; to examine any further specific issues which may be referred to the Expert Group by the Minister; to ensure that the recommendations of the Expert Group take account of any Capacity legislation published in the meantime and be consistent with such legislation and existing criminal law insanity legislation, which is also under review at this time; and to conclude its deliberations and submit final report to the Minister by the end of March 2013.