628. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Justice the status of the establishment of a high level taskforce in relation to mental health and addiction challenges for persons interacting with the criminal justice system; the details of same; when it will be rolled out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26282/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, the establishment of the Taskforce is a key goal within the Justice Plan 2021.
The first meeting of the High Level Taskforce on Mental Health and addiction challenges of persons interacting with the criminal justice system took place via video conference on Wednesday 28th April 2021. The Taskforce is chaired by Kathleen Lynch, former Minister of State with responsibility for primary care, Mental Health and Disability. The inaugural meeting was attended by Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne TD, and Ministers of State at the Department of Health, Mary Butler TD and Frank Feighan TD.
The meeting was also attended by high level officials from the Department of Justice, the Probation Service, An Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service, the Department of Health and the HSE, the Central Mental Hospital, the Department of Housing and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. The focus of this meeting was to examine the Terms of Reference, with particular focus on the current status of the overview of the Interdepartmental Group’s (IDG) recommendations and to plan for moving forward with this work. A copy of both reports from the IDG are available on the website of the Department of Justice.
The second meeting of the Taskforce is scheduled for Wednesday 19th May. It is envisaged a high level implementation plan will be published by the Taskforce by the end of the year.