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 Harney at it again.

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PostSubject: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:17 pm

This time with mental health legislation and people who are involuntarily detained in psychiatric hospitals. This woman seemingly never tires of finding ways to express her hatred of vulnerable people. In advance of a high court judgment due today in respect of a woman who challenged the grounds on which she was detained in hospital, and in anticipation of a decision that could easily go against the government, Harney rushed legislation through the Dail yesterday, to apply retrospectively - thus removing two fundamental safeguards in Irish life: firstly, the prinicple that legislation should never apply retrospectively because of the extreme unfairness of it - how can people's behaviour be bound by a law that didn't exist when the behaviour occurred? Secondly, Harney has, true to her viciously arrogant credo, now concentrated extraordinary and arbitrary discretion in the hands of psychiatrists to detain people in hospitals against their own wishes for whatever length of time the psychiatrists specify.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/1031/breaking27.htm


Last edited by Aragon on Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:24 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Poor grammar.)
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:30 pm

It is necessary in some cases that people with certain psychiatric conditions are detained in order to protect themselves and society at large. That said, no rushed legislation any works, as they say tattoo in haste and regret at your leisure.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:53 pm

I'm sorry I don't understand what's going on here with this as I haven't been absorbing the news but people being detained in hospitals .. against their wills ... ? If someone could give me an example I'd be delighted. For example in the case of people who have anger management trouble, they get drunk and cause havoc outside a family member's house and the family has them committed ... is that the kind of thing ?

From the Irish Times link by Aragon
Quote :
It was argued during the current High Court case that the form used by psychiatrists renewing admission periods was too prescriptive as it contained boxes with specific time periods rather than allowing a psychiatrist to specify periods of admission other than three, six or 12 months.

The Minister was advised by the Attorney General yesterday morning that emergency legislation was required to avert a situation where all 209 people who are currently involuntarily detained in public and private psychiatric institutions would be entitled to their freedom if the High Court decision goes against the state today.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:57 pm

No, it is people with acute psychiatric illnesses which cause them to present an imminent danger to themselves and to society. You are talking about people who do not have control of their own actions and are potentially very dangerous. We do have a tendency to lock up and marginalise people with psychiatric illness all too readily in this country, however there are situations where it is the necessary course of action where medication is not suffiicient.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:30 pm

johnfás wrote:
No, it is people with acute psychiatric illnesses which cause them to present an imminent danger to themselves and to society. You are talking about people who do not have control of their own actions and are potentially very dangerous. We do have a tendency to lock up and marginalise people with psychiatric illness all too readily in this country, however there are situations where it is the necessary course of action where medication is not suffiicient.

So essentially we're talking about people who it would be a really bad idea to let out - but the current system for keeping them in (specifically, the forms used) is likely to be ruled against in court on the basis of certain technical points. In order to prevent this leading to all of these dangerous people being released, the Minister is enacting emergency legislation which retains the legality of the current system - both the forms to be filled in in the near future for the detention of dangerous cases, and the forms that were filled in to provide for current detentions.

Well, I carry no torch for Harney, but what we're talking about here is the Minister preventing dangerously mad people from being released onto the streets on a technicality. I really don't think she's doing anything less than her job, and I don't really think that the dangerously mad qualify as a vulnerable segment of society. Certainly I won't be joining them if they decide to protest outside the Dáil.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:49 pm

Probably everyone agrees that there are times when people need to be detained - even against their own wishes. It's a draconian power to have over other people and it needs to be exercised with real caution. The newspapers are probably not allowed to discuss the details of the case in question but it's a pretty safe bet that at any given time there are people languishing in hospitals against their will who do not deserve to be there. Psychiatrists like the rest of us are only too human: some are very astute - others are pretty dull. They all make mistakes and occasionally some will take a patient's attitude personally and be less objective than is right. Nurses and other carers can take agin people too -though mostly they don't. Even when carers have the best of intentions, mentally ill patients are extremely vulnerable to being misunderstood - especially when they don't have family to watch over their care or to represent them. This law has been rushed through, much like the budget, without thought or care for the consequences it could have in future. We don't have any information about how this new power to detain people indefinitely without any legal liability for doing so is going to be policed but even at face value Harney can have been in no doubt that she was doing something extreme and that it was at the expense of the legal status of the mentlly ill. Every time Harney has to weigh up the interests of some vulnerable group against competing considerations, she unflinchingly takes the meanest and most inhumane course of action that she possibly can. And then all the idiots around her describe it as 'firm leadership' or some such hogwash. It's as if the more unpleasant she becomes the more her disciples see great things in her.

The government's contempt for judicial discretion couldn't be clearer. As much as possible, when a decision goes against it, it introduces legislation to make sure that it can't happen in future. It's legislative dictatorship and they've been getting more and more blatant at doing it.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:59 pm

ibis wrote:
johnfás wrote:
No, it is people with acute psychiatric illnesses which cause them to present an imminent danger to themselves and to society. You are talking about people who do not have control of their own actions and are potentially very dangerous. We do have a tendency to lock up and marginalise people with psychiatric illness all too readily in this country, however there are situations where it is the necessary course of action where medication is not suffiicient.

So essentially we're talking about people who it would be a really bad idea to let out - but the current system for keeping them in (specifically, the forms used) is likely to be ruled against in court on the basis of certain technical points. In order to prevent this leading to all of these dangerous people being released, the Minister is enacting emergency legislation which retains the legality of the current system - both the forms to be filled in in the near future for the detention of dangerous cases, and the forms that were filled in to provide for current detentions.

Well, I carry no torch for Harney, but what we're talking about here is the Minister preventing dangerously mad people from being released onto the streets on a technicality. I really don't think she's doing anything less than her job, and I don't really think that the dangerously mad qualify as a vulnerable segment of society. Certainly I won't be joining them if they decide to protest outside the Dáil.

Your depiction of the patients affected by this amounts to an almost sub-human caricature - much the sort of attitude which I suspect informed the hasty legislation. Of course there are people who are dangerous but that is by no means the whole picture - and in any case they are all human beings deserving of normal consideration and respect. There should have been in depth consultation and open debate about this before it was done.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:09 pm

Aragon wrote:
ibis wrote:
johnfás wrote:
No, it is people with acute psychiatric illnesses which cause them to present an imminent danger to themselves and to society. You are talking about people who do not have control of their own actions and are potentially very dangerous. We do have a tendency to lock up and marginalise people with psychiatric illness all too readily in this country, however there are situations where it is the necessary course of action where medication is not suffiicient.

So essentially we're talking about people who it would be a really bad idea to let out - but the current system for keeping them in (specifically, the forms used) is likely to be ruled against in court on the basis of certain technical points. In order to prevent this leading to all of these dangerous people being released, the Minister is enacting emergency legislation which retains the legality of the current system - both the forms to be filled in in the near future for the detention of dangerous cases, and the forms that were filled in to provide for current detentions.

Well, I carry no torch for Harney, but what we're talking about here is the Minister preventing dangerously mad people from being released onto the streets on a technicality. I really don't think she's doing anything less than her job, and I don't really think that the dangerously mad qualify as a vulnerable segment of society. Certainly I won't be joining them if they decide to protest outside the Dáil.

Your depiction of the patients affected by this amounts to an almost sub-human caricature - much the sort of attitude which I suspect informed the hasty legislation. Of course there are people who are dangerous but that is by no means the whole picture - and in any case they are all human beings deserving of normal consideration and respect. There should have been in depth consultation and open debate about this before it was done.

Well, no, there shouldn't have been. That can come now, if you like, but delaying the necessary legislation would involve releasing the people onto the street without discussion. The legal issues aren't in respect of whether the dangerously insane need to be detained, or what constitutes 'dangerously insane' - the legal issues are technicalities.

I live in Dublin city centre. I have a small child. We already have a pretty large population of lurching nutters to contend with, and they are not seen as dangerous enough to be detained, so clearly the definition of such a risk category has a pretty high bar (290 in the country). If you want people not to be locked up on the basis of psychiatric evaluation but only once they have actually committed assaults, by all means campaign for that. I will cheerfully campaign against it.

There are plenty of sticks to beat Harney with. I don't suggest you tie your flag to this one.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:30 pm

ibis wrote:
Aragon wrote:
ibis wrote:
johnfás wrote:
No, it is people with acute psychiatric illnesses which cause them to present an imminent danger to themselves and to society. You are talking about people who do not have control of their own actions and are potentially very dangerous. We do have a tendency to lock up and marginalise people with psychiatric illness all too readily in this country, however there are situations where it is the necessary course of action where medication is not suffiicient.

So essentially we're talking about people who it would be a really bad idea to let out - but the current system for keeping them in (specifically, the forms used) is likely to be ruled against in court on the basis of certain technical points. In order to prevent this leading to all of these dangerous people being released, the Minister is enacting emergency legislation which retains the legality of the current system - both the forms to be filled in in the near future for the detention of dangerous cases, and the forms that were filled in to provide for current detentions.

Well, I carry no torch for Harney, but what we're talking about here is the Minister preventing dangerously mad people from being released onto the streets on a technicality. I really don't think she's doing anything less than her job, and I don't really think that the dangerously mad qualify as a vulnerable segment of society. Certainly I won't be joining them if they decide to protest outside the Dáil.

Your depiction of the patients affected by this amounts to an almost sub-human caricature - much the sort of attitude which I suspect informed the hasty legislation. Of course there are people who are dangerous but that is by no means the whole picture - and in any case they are all human beings deserving of normal consideration and respect. There should have been in depth consultation and open debate about this before it was done.

Well, no, there shouldn't have been. That can come now, if you like, but delaying the necessary legislation would involve releasing the people onto the street without discussion. The legal issues aren't in respect of whether the dangerously insane need to be detained, or what constitutes 'dangerously insane' - the legal issues are technicalities.

I live in Dublin city centre. I have a small child. We already have a pretty large population of lurching nutters to contend with, and they are not seen as dangerous enough to be detained, so clearly the definition of such a risk category has a pretty high bar (290 in the country). If you want people not to be locked up on the basis of psychiatric evaluation but only once they have actually committed assaults, by all means campaign for that. I will cheerfully campaign against it.

There are plenty of sticks to beat Harney with. I don't suggest you tie your flag to this one.

'lurching nutters'. What disgusting language. Besides, you are wrong in what you say. 99% of the people detained had their orders renewed last week. It was entirely possible for Harney to introduce temporary measures which would have served perfectly well to hold people who really need to be in care and to take time to address any genuine loophole in a considered way without rushing to this extreme. Ibis, you are always pretending that you don't especially support this or that government person/policy or whatever, but you never tire of defending them to the hilt, even so. Your other trick is never to address the actual points that are being made. How does this measure safeguard the interests of those who are wrongly detained in hospital?
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:57 pm

I haven't read this legislation, so I won't say too much yet.

The mental health services in this country are bleak, to massively understate the case. Folks who require treatment under the medical card scheme, I really feel for. Regular and ongoing treatment are unheard of, it is more the case that medication is prescribed and then tweaked depending on the patient's behaviour rather than a proper consultation or an examination.

I note that the lady in the High Court, expecting a judgement today, was in custody in a private facility. This possibly means that she signed herself in. Surely the new legislation will tend to put folks off from signing themselves in for treatment, for fear of being incarcerated against their wills. This is a very real issue as most folks with a mental disability, who'd be classed as violent, suffer from either schizophrenia and/or psychosis, both of which are very much influenced by paranoia, either real or perceived. This legislation, even though it does only seem to close a loophole, because of its newsworthiness, will be widely broadcast and will tend to drive the dangerous unfortunates of our society underground, to the point where they will not even attempt to be prescribed medication.

No doubt, society has an obligation and a right to protect itself. I'm not confident Ms Harney has done so or is competent to do so. Same goes for our unelected president.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 5:04 pm

Aragon wrote:
ibis wrote:
Aragon wrote:
ibis wrote:
johnfás wrote:
No, it is people with acute psychiatric illnesses which cause them to present an imminent danger to themselves and to society. You are talking about people who do not have control of their own actions and are potentially very dangerous. We do have a tendency to lock up and marginalise people with psychiatric illness all too readily in this country, however there are situations where it is the necessary course of action where medication is not suffiicient.

So essentially we're talking about people who it would be a really bad idea to let out - but the current system for keeping them in (specifically, the forms used) is likely to be ruled against in court on the basis of certain technical points. In order to prevent this leading to all of these dangerous people being released, the Minister is enacting emergency legislation which retains the legality of the current system - both the forms to be filled in in the near future for the detention of dangerous cases, and the forms that were filled in to provide for current detentions.

Well, I carry no torch for Harney, but what we're talking about here is the Minister preventing dangerously mad people from being released onto the streets on a technicality. I really don't think she's doing anything less than her job, and I don't really think that the dangerously mad qualify as a vulnerable segment of society. Certainly I won't be joining them if they decide to protest outside the Dáil.

Your depiction of the patients affected by this amounts to an almost sub-human caricature - much the sort of attitude which I suspect informed the hasty legislation. Of course there are people who are dangerous but that is by no means the whole picture - and in any case they are all human beings deserving of normal consideration and respect. There should have been in depth consultation and open debate about this before it was done.

Well, no, there shouldn't have been. That can come now, if you like, but delaying the necessary legislation would involve releasing the people onto the street without discussion. The legal issues aren't in respect of whether the dangerously insane need to be detained, or what constitutes 'dangerously insane' - the legal issues are technicalities.

I live in Dublin city centre. I have a small child. We already have a pretty large population of lurching nutters to contend with, and they are not seen as dangerous enough to be detained, so clearly the definition of such a risk category has a pretty high bar (290 in the country). If you want people not to be locked up on the basis of psychiatric evaluation but only once they have actually committed assaults, by all means campaign for that. I will cheerfully campaign against it.

There are plenty of sticks to beat Harney with. I don't suggest you tie your flag to this one.

'lurching nutters'. What disgusting language.

Oh, cry me a river. We also have winos and junkies, some of whom are also far enough gone in their addictions to barely qualify as human.

Aragon wrote:
Besides, you are wrong in what you say. 99% of the people detained had their orders renewed last week. It was entirely possible for Harney to introduce temporary measures which would have served perfectly well to hold people who really need to be in care and to take time to address any genuine loophole in a considered way without rushing to this extreme.

If that genuine loophole means that people who are dangerous to themselves and the public are released into the community, I can't see why that would be positive.

Aragon wrote:
Ibis, you are always pretending that you don't especially support this or that government person/policy or whatever, but you never tire of defending them to the hilt, even so.

Well, not really. You mean that I don't necessarily agree with your attacks on them - but that's because I may consider those attacks incoherent and irrational. This one certainly is.

Aragon wrote:
Your other trick is never to address the actual points that are being made. How does this measure safeguard the interests of those who are wrongly detained in hospital?

It ignores that question completely, as far as I can see:

Quote :
The emergency legislation entitled the Mental Health Bill 2008 provides that irrespective of the forms used, no period of admission will be invalid.

That looks like a minimal technical response to close a technical loophole. The question of whether the time-period on the forms is in the form of a checkbox or a free entry box is technical. One can view the change to a free entry box as worse (allowing psychiatrists to write in anything they like) or better (more flexible), but one can hardly claim, as you appear to be doing, that not allowing the dangerously insane out on a technicality is some kind of attack on them.

The Bill is here.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 5:26 pm

ibis wrote:
Aragon wrote:
ibis wrote:
Aragon wrote:
ibis wrote:
johnfás wrote:
No, it is people with acute psychiatric illnesses which cause them to present an imminent danger to themselves and to society. You are talking about people who do not have control of their own actions and are potentially very dangerous. We do have a tendency to lock up and marginalise people with psychiatric illness all too readily in this country, however there are situations where it is the necessary course of action where medication is not suffiicient.

So essentially we're talking about people who it would be a really bad idea to let out - but the current system for keeping them in (specifically, the forms used) is likely to be ruled against in court on the basis of certain technical points. In order to prevent this leading to all of these dangerous people being released, the Minister is enacting emergency legislation which retains the legality of the current system - both the forms to be filled in in the near future for the detention of dangerous cases, and the forms that were filled in to provide for current detentions.

Well, I carry no torch for Harney, but what we're talking about here is the Minister preventing dangerously mad people from being released onto the streets on a technicality. I really don't think she's doing anything less than her job, and I don't really think that the dangerously mad qualify as a vulnerable segment of society. Certainly I won't be joining them if they decide to protest outside the Dáil.

Your depiction of the patients affected by this amounts to an almost sub-human caricature - much the sort of attitude which I suspect informed the hasty legislation. Of course there are people who are dangerous but that is by no means the whole picture - and in any case they are all human beings deserving of normal consideration and respect. There should have been in depth consultation and open debate about this before it was done.

Well, no, there shouldn't have been. That can come now, if you like, but delaying the necessary legislation would involve releasing the people onto the street without discussion. The legal issues aren't in respect of whether the dangerously insane need to be detained, or what constitutes 'dangerously insane' - the legal issues are technicalities.

I live in Dublin city centre. I have a small child. We already have a pretty large population of lurching nutters to contend with, and they are not seen as dangerous enough to be detained, so clearly the definition of such a risk category has a pretty high bar (290 in the country). If you want people not to be locked up on the basis of psychiatric evaluation but only once they have actually committed assaults, by all means campaign for that. I will cheerfully campaign against it.

There are plenty of sticks to beat Harney with. I don't suggest you tie your flag to this one.

'lurching nutters'. What disgusting language.

Oh, cry me a river. We also have winos and junkies, some of whom are also far enough gone in their addictions to barely qualify as human.

Aragon wrote:
Besides, you are wrong in what you say. 99% of the people detained had their orders renewed last week. It was entirely possible for Harney to introduce temporary measures which would have served perfectly well to hold people who really need to be in care and to take time to address any genuine loophole in a considered way without rushing to this extreme.

If that genuine loophole means that people who are dangerous to themselves and the public are released into the community, I can't see why that would be positive.

Aragon wrote:
Ibis, you are always pretending that you don't especially support this or that government person/policy or whatever, but you never tire of defending them to the hilt, even so.

Well, not really. You mean that I don't necessarily agree with your attacks on them - but that's because I may consider those attacks incoherent and irrational. This one certainly is.

Aragon wrote:
Your other trick is never to address the actual points that are being made. How does this measure safeguard the interests of those who are wrongly detained in hospital?

It ignores that question completely, as far as I can see:

Quote :
The emergency legislation entitled the Mental Health Bill 2008 provides that irrespective of the forms used, no period of admission will be invalid.

That looks like a minimal technical response to close a technical loophole. The question of whether the time-period on the forms is in the form of a checkbox or a free entry box is technical. One can view the change to a free entry box as worse (allowing psychiatrists to write in anything they like) or better (more flexible), but one can hardly claim, as you appear to be doing, that not allowing the dangerously insane out on a technicality is some kind of attack on them.

The Bill is here.

The incoherence is on your side Ibis - you're way too cross. You really should read what I have actually written because it would prevent you from attacking things that I have not said. Consider this carefully: there is more than one issue to be considered here. How does Harney's hasty action affect those who are wrongly detained or detained for longer than is necessary? Or do they not matter? Are they not to be considered - just so much human wastage that you are happy to consign to their fate?
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 5:46 pm

Aragon wrote:
The incoherence is on your side Ibis - you're way too cross. You really should read what I have actually written because it would prevent you from attacking things that I have not said. Consider this carefully: there is more than one issue to be considered here. How does Harney's hasty action affect those who are wrongly detained or detained for longer than is necessary? Or do they not matter? Are they not to be considered - just so much human wastage that you are happy to consign to their fate?

All good questions - the problem here is that all Harney has done is to provide that detention orders are not invalid by virtue of the period on them, or the form used to commit them. That is exactly the same as a piece of legislation that provides that prison sentences are not invalid by virtue of their length, or by virtue of the forms describing them. If you want to use that as an opportunity to open a debate about whether such detentions are right, that's fine - but in itself it isn't such a debate, or something that requires such a debate to take place before enactment, any more than finding that someone had left the gates to Dundrum open would be. You're trying to open a debate on an issue which probably needs debate, but you're doing it by attacking a straw man.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:43 pm

ibis wrote:
Aragon wrote:
The incoherence is on your side Ibis - you're way too cross. You really should read what I have actually written because it would prevent you from attacking things that I have not said. Consider this carefully: there is more than one issue to be considered here. How does Harney's hasty action affect those who are wrongly detained or detained for longer than is necessary? Or do they not matter? Are they not to be considered - just so much human wastage that you are happy to consign to their fate?

All good questions - the problem here is that all Harney has done is to provide that detention orders are not invalid by virtue of the period on them, or the form used to commit them. That is exactly the same as a piece of legislation that provides that prison sentences are not invalid by virtue of their length, or by virtue of the forms describing them. If you want to use that as an opportunity to open a debate about whether such detentions are right, that's fine - but in itself it isn't such a debate, or something that requires such a debate to take place before enactment, any more than finding that someone had left the gates to Dundrum open would be. You're trying to open a debate on an issue which probably needs debate, but you're doing it by attacking a straw man.

The point of having detentions in fixed periods was to ensure that there would be routine reviews of the patient's detention order - 3, 6 and 12months max. That safety net now appears to be gone completely. If you were a patient wrongly detained and were at the mercy of the detaining doctor's discretion, the legal 'loophole' that has now been closed would be your only recourse to challenging the order. It's ridiculous for Harney to introduce a measure like this without considering all of its consequences. I could cure your headache by chopping off your head and point to the unquestionable success of my strategy, qua headache cure but you'd be kinda sorry about your head all the same.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:13 pm

Aragon, I really don't think the State is in the business of detaining people with no good reason.

If a person was deemed to be unwell enough as to require mandatory detention, then this bill does nothing to change that.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:17 pm

I heard about this on Morning Ireland this morning, it sounds all very above board, closing loopholes, etc.. but it struck me as not quite right. What is wrong with having to renew the detainment order every 12 months? That seems quite responsible to me.

BTW EvotingMachine, the state has nothing to gain from detaining people without reason, but it also has nothing to gain from subjecting people to electric shock "therapy" without reason, and yet we do it.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:47 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Aragon, I really don't think the State is in the business of detaining people with no good reason.

If a person was deemed to be unwell enough as to require mandatory detention, then this bill does nothing to change that.

I don't think the state wants to detain people unnecessarily. But it does do so unecessarily sometimes and that can only happen when psychiatrists and others get it wrong. It's important to legislate for the minimum possible amount of discretion for doctors so that innocent patients don't pay a severe price for their doctor's understandable fallibility AND at the same time that doctors can detain people who are a real threat. There must always be a possibility that a person can challenge a detention. That's the only possible way to protect people from being wrongly incarcerated. If the decision to detain is the right one, it will withstand the challenge.

What seems to have happened in this case (and it's not clear) is that a doctor did not follow the right procedure and inadvertently precipitated a national crisis - presumably because it was found that lot's of other doctors hadn't been doing it right either - otherwise, why would this one mistake have had any significance to other patients? That's the only explanation I can think of for why Harney had to rush through this retrospective legislation - to clean up a mess of the doctors' own making. So here's a guy who does the wrong thing and instead of him having to fess up and do it the right way round, she's changed the whole system to accommodate the wrong-doing - because the wrong-doing was endemic. Bloody marvellous. She was probably anticipating a ton of expensive law suits too.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:25 pm

Aragon wrote:
ibis wrote:
Aragon wrote:
The incoherence is on your side Ibis - you're way too cross. You really should read what I have actually written because it would prevent you from attacking things that I have not said. Consider this carefully: there is more than one issue to be considered here. How does Harney's hasty action affect those who are wrongly detained or detained for longer than is necessary? Or do they not matter? Are they not to be considered - just so much human wastage that you are happy to consign to their fate?

All good questions - the problem here is that all Harney has done is to provide that detention orders are not invalid by virtue of the period on them, or the form used to commit them. That is exactly the same as a piece of legislation that provides that prison sentences are not invalid by virtue of their length, or by virtue of the forms describing them. If you want to use that as an opportunity to open a debate about whether such detentions are right, that's fine - but in itself it isn't such a debate, or something that requires such a debate to take place before enactment, any more than finding that someone had left the gates to Dundrum open would be. You're trying to open a debate on an issue which probably needs debate, but you're doing it by attacking a straw man.

The point of having detentions in fixed periods was to ensure that there would be routine reviews of the patient's detention order - 3, 6 and 12months max. That safety net now appears to be gone completely. If you were a patient wrongly detained and were at the mercy of the detaining doctor's discretion, the legal 'loophole' that has now been closed would be your only recourse to challenging the order. It's ridiculous for Harney to introduce a measure like this without considering all of its consequences. I could cure your headache by chopping off your head and point to the unquestionable success of my strategy, qua headache cure but you'd be kinda sorry about your head all the same.

All this arises from the case currently in court - the patient who is currently challenging her own detention is arguing, inter alia, that having such prescriptive periods is wrong. Not Mary Harney - the patient:

Quote :
It was argued during the current High Court case that the form used by psychiatrists renewing admission periods was too prescriptive as it contained boxes with specific time periods rather than allowing a psychiatrist to specify periods of admission other than three, six or 12 months.

Now that the Court has indeed agreed that such prescriptive periods are unfair, they cannot be legally used. So, if what you're arguing is that having prescriptive periods allowed specific review periods, and was better than a free-form entry, I have no idea at all why you are attacking Mary Harney. Prescriptive periods have been struck down by the court on behalf of a patient.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:55 pm

Ibis, the law now makes it possible for doctors to arbitrarily specify shorter or longer periods of time. If the 3,6,12 formula was too prescriptive, they were at least a safeguard against indefinite incarceration. That's what you refuse to deal with - how this change in the law affects people wrongly detained. Come on Ibis, give us the answer?
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:52 pm

Aragon wrote:
Ibis, the law now makes it possible for doctors to arbitrarily specify shorter or longer periods of time. If the 3,6,12 formula was too prescriptive, they were at least a safeguard against indefinite incarceration. That's what you refuse to deal with - how this change in the law affects people wrongly detained. Come on Ibis, give us the answer?

Oh, probably badly - but I haven't commented on that. What I've commented on is your absolutely bizarre attribution of the blame here to Mary Harney. The prescriptive periods were overturned by the court, on foot of a challenge taken by a patient - Mary Harney can't simply decide to keep using prescriptive periods, because the court has effectively ruled those illegal. By doing so, they open the possibility of everyone who has received such a 'prescriptive' period being able to walk out the door tomorrow. The legislation is intended to prevent that scenario. As far as I can see it really doesn't go beyond that.

Attack Mary Harney on something she's actually done - the HSE fiasco, the very idea of privatising public health care - but, really, what is the point of attacking her for something the court did?
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:28 pm

Having skimmed the new legislation (cheers for the link Ibis), without having compared it to the original piece of legislation, I'm not so sure I like it.

If one reads past the legalese, it seems to say that a person having been committed, cannot be released without the permission of a psychiatrist. The paperwork with the fixed terms, seemed to put the onus on psychiatrists to either examine and extend the duration of the patients incarceration or the patient would be released (this is what the High Court has ruled). The fact that so many patients were going to try and avail of this ruling does not bode well. It suggests that the psychiatrists didn't forget about their patients but that they either didn't have the resources or the time to examine all the patients to decide whether to release or extend their periods of incarceration.

This new legislation seems to me, to say that it's okay if the psychiatrists don't or can't examine their patients in a timely fashion. Methinks this legislation will not survive a constitutional challenge.

Maybe, in my hurry to get out and scare the bejaysus out of some kids, I've been hasty and have misread. If so, my apologies. I'll have a more thorough read when I return and am sobered up (I intend to get pissed drunken ).
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:14 am

Hermes wrote:
Having skimmed the new legislation (cheers for the link Ibis), without having compared it to the original piece of legislation, I'm not so sure I like it.

If one reads past the legalese, it seems to say that a person having been committed, cannot be released without the permission of a psychiatrist. The paperwork with the fixed terms, seemed to put the onus on psychiatrists to either examine and extend the duration of the patients incarceration or the patient would be released (this is what the High Court has ruled). The fact that so many patients were going to try and avail of this ruling does not bode well. It suggests that the psychiatrists didn't forget about their patients but that they either didn't have the resources or the time to examine all the patients to decide whether to release or extend their periods of incarceration.

This new legislation seems to me, to say that it's okay if the psychiatrists don't or can't examine their patients in a timely fashion. Methinks this legislation will not survive a constitutional challenge.

That would be par for the course at this stage.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:36 am

Correct me please if I'm wrong on this, but doesn't this legislation operate in conjunction with the Mental Health Act 2001 which brought Ireland into line with the rest of Europe and made conditions far better for those who could conceivably under the previous legislation have found themselves locked up for life.

If so, then the following still applies
Quote :

A notice under this section shall include a statement in writing
to the effect that the patient—

(a) is being detained pursuant to section 14 or 15, as the case
may be,
(b) is entitled to legal representation,
(c) will be given a general description of the proposed treatment
to be administered to him or her during the period of his
or her detention,
(d) is entitled to communicate with the Inspector,
(e) will have his or her detention reviewed by a tribunal in
accordance with the provisions of section 18,
(f) is entitled to appeal to the Circuit Court against a decision
of a tribunal under section 18 if he or she is the subject
of a renewal order, and
(g) may be admitted to the approved centre concerned as a voluntary
patient if he or she indicates a wish to be so
admitted.

Furthermore, the woman may have won the case, but the judge decided that she was too unwell to be released.

There is nothing arbitrary about removing artificial (and indeed arbitrary) deadlines. In fact, looking at the 2001 Act, the 3 and 12 month deadlines are the 'no later than' dates.

The new legislation does not suggest that it's okay if psychiatrists don't or can't examine their patients in a timely fashion; what it removes, as I have said before, are the deadlines.

And I have to agree with ibis regarding the Mary Harney-bashing. I appreciate that to some people she has become the postergirl for the woes of society but if this argument stands or not, it does so outside of Mary Harney.
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PostSubject: Re: Harney at it again.   Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:57 am

What was under discussion here was the legal principle of what has been decided - not the woman's case itself about which none of us know enough to comment. Harney has opened a door that should have remained firmly shut - the provisions cited above say nothing about the legal status of the psychiatrist's discretion or the weight attaching to it during any appeal process as it relates to specifying the duration of the detention and which has now been made a dangerously open-ended matter. An entitlement to appeal guarantees nothing in this respect. It's very straightforward - this legislation will be applied to many different sets of circumstances other than those pertaining to the instant case. Good legislation can't possibly be considered, drafted, debated and approved like this - and it should never even be considered around such a sensitive issue.

Mary Harney is developing a dangerous fondness for avoiding legal obligations by the arrogant, massively undemocratic strategy of changing legislation she doesn't like and/or subverting judicial decision-making. That sort of thing is the beginning of the end of the legal system but entirely consistent with her attitude to society generally:

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/fears-over-bupa-deal-as-harney-pulls-34m-plug-56267.html

And since the subject has been raised, Mary Harney has made herself the poster girl for the woes of society not least because of her obsession with the economics and politics of neo-fascism - allowed to do her worst as a quid pro quo for keeping Fianna Fail in power all of these years. Together with her husband, her party and her wealthy coterie, she has probably been one of the single most powerful conduits of influence on behalf of rapacious corporatism the country has ever seen. Of course her admirers would naturally prefer student and OAP bashing to holding her to account for the damage she has done - and continues to do. It surely requires a wilfully perverse inversion of logic to pretend that she is any sort of victim. Well, cry me a river too, as Ibis would say. For too long she has enjoyed the coy adulation of the media - journalists contriving to find wonderful things to admire in her economic brutality towards the poorer sections of society - and dressing it all up in bullshit, cliched euphemisms like 'tough choices' and 'firm stand' - the better to gain admittance to the politico-media mutual masturbation society. Are any of these mandarins of spin every going to get around to doing their job again, I wonder?

Signs are though that the tide is turning in the media/political club. Messages were being signalled via the Sunday Business Post this weekend that FF are not best pleased with Mary. Aileen O' Meara was happy to deliver a few of them:

Harney is being held responsible for the biggest wave of public anger seen in this country since the 1970s, an anger needlessly created by ill-judged comments and an arrogant assumption that elderly people would accept being forced to go through a maze of bureaucratic means-testing procedures to access health services.

Her argument that the GP-only card (a measure that has become mired in needless bureaucratic delays for low-income families) or an annual cash payment would be a sufficient replacement for universal access to a range of health services and medicines only made people angrier.


Of course all this was too good to be true: O' Meara goes on to all the usual drooling about 'firm hand' and so forth - even managing to conclude that 'generous subsidies' of taxpayers money to private companies is more equitable than investing it directly in services to the people who are actually paying for them - and then managing the service properly instead of handing responsiblity for it over to your husband's firm AND his clients (again at taxpayers expense) whenever the opportunity for doing so presents itself. For about a hundred different reasons, this woman should resign immediately and never darken the door of Irish politics again.
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