Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke has said it is wholly unfair that children in need of psychology services in North Kildare have been left high and dry by a failure of the HSE to secure replacement consultants to cover gaps in services and maternity cover.

Deputy O’Rourke was commenting after securing new information from the HSE that shows that the towns of Celbridge, Clane and Maynooth are once again without the services of a child psychologist.

“For the past period, the towns of Clane, Celbridge and Maynooth have been without a child psychologist. Last July, one was appointed to serve Clane and Celbridge leaving Maynooth without one.

“However, in recent days I have learned that the recently appointed psychologist has now gone on maternity leave. This wouldn’t be an issue if the HSE had prepared the ground and sought a replacement to ensure that there was no break in service.

“We are now back to square one with no child psychology service for these three large, and growing towns.

“The HSE must secure the services of locum psychologists to ensure that waiting lists do not begin to grow. Longer term, two full-time permanent psychologists are needed to cover this area.

“There are major staffing shortages in Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS) in this country. Up to 40% of the required positions under the flagship policy, a Vision for Change, have yet to be recruited. It’s very unfair on the children themselves, but also their families.

“I have written to the Minister for Health seeking an update on plans for interim replacements. We need an urgent response from the HSE to allay the fears and worries of parents,” concluded O’Rourke.