Well done to Mary Rafferty and RTE for the documentary series Behind the Walls on Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals.


As you stated in your editorial A Culture of Control (Sep.12), the series highlighted a psychiatric system “where barbaric therapies were routinely employed” but the reality is that even today, under the 2001 Mental Health Act, people are still treated as second class citizens.


Of the five psychiatrists who appeared on the series, one was a discredited Waterford doctor, one a proponent of improved hospital conditions, two spoke of the need for a fundamental change of mindset and the fifth spoke, without challenge, of a new, improved form of electro-shock still practiced today.


Conspicously absent was any spokesperson for the Irish College of Psychiatry in reaction to the many alarming issues raised in the programme.


Equally disappointing was the failure of most of the agenda-setting radio programmes to follow up on the issues the day after.


Again as you stated, “an acceptance of alternative views …and robust analysis” is required, such as will be on offer at the November 2011 U.C.C. conference of the Irish Critical Voices Network.


Would it be expecting too much to see the Irish College of Psychiatry attend?



Yours etc,


Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland,