The lack of round the clock access to mental health services across much of Offaly is deeply concerning, according to Deputy Barry Cowen.
Information obtained by Fianna Fáil has shown that CHO 8, which counties Laois and Offaly are part of, are faced with significant deficits in service provision, and that major towns, such as Birr, Tullamore and Portlaoise are still without a round the clock service.
Commenting on the matter Deputy Cowen said: "We all know that mental health emergencies do not simply happen from Monday to Friday, and the provision of a seven day per week nationwide service is imperative.
"For big towns such as Birr, Tullamore and Portlaoise to be without access to essential healthcare on a seven day basis is simply unacceptable, leading people to seek help in an A&E Department, a wholly unsuitable setting.
"As this information just relates to adult services we must consider the even worse situation in the provision of services for children and adolescents. At the moment, the HSE doesn't even have the capacity to accurately estimate the number of additional posts required to deliver a round the clock Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
"The HSE pledges that there will be a nationwide round the clock service by the end of March 2019 but given the current rate of recruitment and the missed targets thus far, this is something which we will be watching very closely", concluded Deputy Cowen.