Mary Maddock Petitions Ireland About Forced Psychiatric Drugs

by David W. Oaks — last modified 2007-12-12 17:08

In Cork, Ireland, Mary Maddock, one of the founders of MindFreedom Ireland, submitted an official petition to the government of Ireland, and a copy of the text is here. Mary challenges the legality of Irish policy on forced psychiatric drugging. Mary presented the petition to the European Union Petitions Committee durings its tour of Ireland.

Mary Maddock of MindFreedom Ireland



CORK, IRELAND: At a meeting in Cork on Thursday, 28 June 2007, human rights activist Mary Maddock, psychiatric survivor and founder-member of  MindFreedom Ireland presented her petition to the European Union Petitions Committee, currently touring Ireland.

Her petition is entitled 'The Illegality of Ireland's Mental Health Act of 2001 as it Concerns the Forced Use of Mind Altering Drugs on Unwilling patients.' A copy of the petition text is below.

A second petition on the same issue was presented by John McCarthy, well known activist who stood as a candidate in the recent general election specifically on the issue of mental health.

The Petitions Committee, which is gathering petitions on a number of different issues, includes Irish MEPs Kathy Sinnott, Mairead McGuinness and Proinsais De Rossa.  Ms. Sinnott is Vice-Chair of the Committee.



The Illegality of Ireland's Mental Health Act of 2001 as it Concerns the Forced Use of Mind Altering Drugs on Unwilling Patients


Petition by: Mary Maddock

Petition Host: Kathy Sinnott, Member of the European Parliament [MEP] from Ireland SouthMy 'treatment' began in 1976 after the birth of my first child. With little or no discussion it was decided I needed medical treatment, i.e. drugs, mainly a nueroleptic called largactil, and a little later ECT [electroconvulsive therapy] as I had a chemical imbalance in my brain, without having any medical tests to make this diagnoses. I believe this to be the same as forced treatment, and I was forcefully treated with so many injections that to this day I remember the pain and soreness from the many shots.  I got no information about the treatment I received and was not capable of evaluating it myself as it is proven now that nueroleptic drugs cause a chemical lobotomy. I know this to be true from personal experience as simple tasks were a nightmare to perform and I was out of touch with my emotions.    I managed to survive this first onslaught for 7 yrs, but in 1982 I was a victim of psychiatry again and soon I was diagnosed as a manic depressive and was chemically lobotomised once again, this time by three different substances: largactil, surmontil and lithium. I remained on a combination of drugs for almost 20 yrs: on lithium and largactil for most of the time and on all three drugs for over 10 yrs.I am now completely free from drugs for over 7 yrs and at almost 60 years old am leading a healthy and free life in body, mind, and spirit.With the adoption of the Mental Health Act of 2001 (MHA), Ireland's doctors now have the ability to legally force an unwilling patient to continue to take medication for real or perceived mental illness. 

The applicable text of sec. 60 reads:

60-  Where medicine has been administered to a patient for the purposes of ameliorating his or her mental disorder for a continuous period of 3 months, the administration of that medicine shall not be continued unless either:(a) the patient gives his or her consent in writing to the continued administration of that medicine, or    (b) where the patient is unable or unwilling to give such consent:(i) the continued administration of that medicine is approved by the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient, and(ii) the continued administration of that medicine is authorised (in a form specified by the Commission) by another consultant psychiatrist following referral of the matter to him or her by the first-mentioned psychiatrist

The ramifications of this section of the MHA are startling, as what happened to myself can now be forced upon unwilling Irish citizens if two doctors believe it to be in the best interest of the patient, even without any objective standards of testing.My friend and colleague John McCarthy was a delegate to the UN in regards to the recent convention on the rights of the disabled. The treaty, as originally worded in art. 17, left open a number of loopholes which would have allowed States Parties the ability to force involuntary treatment on a patient.

His lobbying helped rewrite art. 12 so that it now reads that "every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others." Furthermore, art. 14 states that the disabled shall enjoy the same rights to liberty and security of their persons as the non-disabled, and that the existence of a disability does not "justify a depravation of liberty." As of 30 March, 2007, both Ireland and the EU are signatories to the convention,  and it is therefore binding law on both bodies.      Even before this, the Council of Europe created Europe's most important human rights document, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950), which offers protection inter alia of privacy (Article 8); against inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3); against arbitrary deprivation of liberty (Article 5); and against discrimination in conjunction with other substantive rights (Article 14). I recognize that the EU does not have the authority to enforce these articles, but this document set the precedent for the above UN convention, and is binding on Ireland and every other nation that is current member state of the EU.I strongly believe that the above portion of the MHA are in clear violation of international law, and respectfully ask that the EU, via the petitions committee, recommend that the involuntary forced use of mind altering medications in Ireland be stopped immediately. 

  Committee Draft on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 13 Feb., 2006, available at  Text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 6 Dec., 2006, available at   "EU Makes Limited Pledge on Disabled Rights," available at  Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 4 Nov., 1950, available at


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George Ebert George is one of the truly long-term psychiatric survivor human rights activists who has worked for decades for our movement. George is one of the founders of MindFreedom International's "Support Coalition." He is a leader in Mental Patients Liberation Alliance in New York State, and is a survivor of electroshock. (Photo by Tom Olin.)