Founded in 2004, MindFreedom Ireland is an affiliate of MindFreedom International and with them, campaigns for a non-violent revolution in the mental health system.




The year commenced with the launch of two books.  The first 'Knowledge in Mental Health; Reclaiming the Social' was edited by MF Ireland member and University College Cork lecturer Lydia Sapouna in conjunction with Peter Lehmann.  The second ˜Soul Survivor - A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry' by Mary and Jim Maddock was launched by active disability campaigner Kathy Sinnott, MEP in Dublin in January, an event also attended by Tim O'Malley, the Irish government minister with responsibility for mental health and  Grainne Humphrys (along with Josh, MF Ireland's youngest member) who read her wonderful poem. In April, the Irish government Report on the Adverse Effects of Pharmaceuticals was published.  MF Ireland members John McCarthy, Greg White, Mary Maddock and especially Nuria O'Mahony had given evidence at the earlier committee hearings and helped in no small way in highlighting the issue.  Plans are afoot to organise a follow-up conference in U.C.C. in the autumn of 2008.




A media campaign in which MF Ireland members spoke on national radio and had letters and articles published in the national press continued throughout the year.  Linking with the media campaign, John McCarthy stood as a candidate in the general election held in May.  Many MF Ireland members formed part of his election campaign team and while John failed to win a seat, he succeeded in focusing media and political attention on health issues in general and mental health issues in particular.  In addition, new member Lidia Walsh spoke very eloquently on Newstalk, the national talk radio station while another significant success was the dropping of an offensive advertisement from the national press due to representations made by MF Ireland in conjunction with Depression Dialogues.




A highlight of the year was Ireland's first electroshock public protest held in solidarity with similar protests in Canada and the U.S in May.  Despite apaaling weather conditions on the day, the event attracted support from a number of politicians including Green party TD Dan Boyle.  A special thanks is due to Mel O'Dea and Tim Nyhan for organising the electroshock facts and statistics leaflets and to Martin Hynes and Colette Ni Dhuinneacha who made their maiden public speeches on the issue.  A prominent report on the protest was carried in The Irish Times of the following day.




Mf Ireland was represented at a number of conferences both at home and abroad throughout the year.  These included the Cork Advocacy Network conference on Mental Health and the Law, the WPA conference in Dresden in June, the Wisdom House 3 day conference Creative Revolution; Turning our Minds Around in Connecticut in July, the Dublin City University Health4Life conference in September and the Manchester Recovery conference in November.  On World Mental Health Day in October, MF Ireland members Martin Hynes, Maria O'Mahony, Lidia Walsh and Mary Maddock manned the MF Ireland information stand in UCC while on the same day Colette Ni Dhuinneacha and John McCarthy represented MF Ireland at the launch of the government's National Service Users Executive Strategic Plan 2007-2009 in Dublin.  A number of other members also spoke in public fora throughout the year.  Dorothee Krien and Mel O'Dea spoke at the Mind, Body Spirit conference in Cork while Mary and John did likewise in Dublin.

In June, Mary and John, on the advice of Kathy Sinnott, Vice-Chair of the Committee, submitted a petition to the European Commission Petitions Committee then touring Ireland.  Their petition entitled ˜The illegality of Ireland's Mental Health Act of 2001 as it concerns the forced use of mind-altering drugs on unwilling patients' was accepted by the Commission in Brussels who have promised to investigate the matter further.

MF Ireland established close links with fellow organisations throughout the year, in particular with Patients Rights Advocacy in New Zealand, the Soteria network in Britain, Psychrights in Alaska, CAPA in Canada and Depression Dialogues in Ireland.  Mary Maddock is currently working to encourage the establishment of new MindFreedom International affiliates in other European countries.




MF Ireland would like to pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of Dr. Terence McLoughlin, Director of Asylum, whose untimely death occurred in September.  Terence was a lifelong campaigner for the rights of the underdog and our good friend.  Finally, the year ended on a further poignant note with a remembrance event on December 28 to mark the first anniversary of the death of one of our founder-members, Helena King. It is the unquenchable spirit of Terence and Helena which will sustain us as we commence what we hope will be another successful year.   

Jim Maddock,
December 31st, 2007





A call for a total ban on the controversial psychiatric practice of electroshock will be made at a public protest in Cork next Saturday.


The practice, which psychiatrists refer to as Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT), involves passing an electric current through the brain, sufficient to deliberately induce a grand-mal seizure.  While they say the person is anaesthetised, they also admit that they do not know how it actually works.


Opponents say the practice is traumatic, inhuman and outdated.  They say it causes brain damage, confusion and permanent memory loss leaving people feeling somehow incomplete.  Any claimed improvement they say is only temporary and generally requires even further regular maintenance shocks. They also say it is given to twice as many women than men, many of them elderly and is frequently given without fully informed consent.


While some psychiatrists defend its use as a last resort, many others refuse to ever use it at all.  Of 66 approved centres in Ireland, 43 never use it. Two European countries, Slovenia and Luxembourg exercise a total ban.


The most recent figures from The Mental Health Commission show that 263 people were electroshocked in 2016.  Seventy-nine per cent of them received one programme (consisting of 12 shocks), 16% received 2 programmes and 5% received 5 or more programmes.  A total of 2558 individual shocks were administered. The Mental Health Act 2001 still allows it to be administered on the say-so of two psychiatrists and any Advanced Directive by a person saying they do not want it can be legally overruled.


A recent development in a US lawsuit taken by anti-shock activist Deborah Schwartzkopff resulted in an admission by shock machine manufacturer Somantics that their devices cause ‘permanent brain damage’, an acknowledgement useful for other victims seeking redress.


The Cork protest is being held in conjunction with similar protests around the world and takes place outside Bishop Lucey Park on The Grand Parade, commencing at 2pm.  It is being organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork-based psychiatric survivor group which campaigns for human rights and is opposed to any forced practices, be they electroshocking or forced drugging.  People who have been victims of the practice will give testimony of their experiences.




Jim Maddock,  May 6th, 2019. Phone: 021 4894303. Mobile: 086 0624445.





Electroshock Protest May 11th, Grand Parade, Cork 2 pm.


Many thanks to all who have supported us in the past.

Hopefully, you will continue to do so again so those who want help will find real, compassionate, understanding support.

Let our local communities be places where we cherish and encourage each other!

Let us be the change that each one of us would like to experience in our world! 


"No one should be deprived of liberty unless he is found guilty of a criminal offense. Depriving a person of liberty for what is said to be his own good is immoral." Thomas Szasz MD


It is still possible to be in danger of having electroshock in Ireland because involuntary incarceration is legal.


People can be forced to receive it even if they are elderly and physically unwell on the word of just 2 psychiatrists.  Elderly women are most in danger of receiving electroshock and children can receive it also.


Even if the family or persons who know the person in danger well are on the side of the person about to receive electroshock their compassionate voices can be overruled.


People perceived to be ‘unable’ by psychiatrists, who have no scientific, objective evidence to prove that people are ‘unable’ or that they are ‘mentally ill’ in the first place, can and are administering electroshock in Ireland.


Should a person make an advanced directive requiring that they don’t wish to receive electroshock in any circumstances this is not a legally binding document.



For the 11th year running, yet another public protest against the psychiatric procedure of electroshock took place on The Grand Parade, Cork on Saturday.


During the procedure, an electric current is passed through the brain of an anaesthetised person to deliberately induce a grand mal seizure.  Psychiatrists defend the practice by claiming it is beneficial for severely depressed people who have not responded to drug ‘treatment’.


Recent figures indicate that almost 250 people are electroshocked in Ireland every year.  Two thirds of them are women and many are elderly.


The Saturday protest heard testimony from people who said that rather than helping them, they endured lasting memory loss and brain damage leaving them with reduced cognitive capacity.


One grandmother spoke of how, after being electroshocked 3 days after the birth of her child, she still has no recollection of the event.


Another speaker put the use of the procedure in the wider context of psychiatry’s belief in a bio-medical model of people with broken brains which can be ‘fixed’ by a surge of electricity.  A more humane and empathetic approach was required, he said.


While a recent amendment to the Mental Health Act removed the word ‘unwilling’ in relation to people not wanting the procedure, it left intact the word ‘unable’ which, in effect, still leaves the decision in the hands of two psychiatrists.  Furthermore, the Act also allows for the overruling of any Advance Directive in which a person has stated they did not want the procedure.


The protest was organised by MIndFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor group which campaigns against the abuse of human rights in psychiatry and is opposed to forced ‘treatments’ including forced drugging and electroshock.


It was part of a wider International Day of Protest Against Electroshock on May 12th which saw similar protests in several countries around the world.


Jim Maddock, MindFreedom Ireland, May13th 2018. Mob. 086 0624445.


     7th MAY 2018.




A protest against the controversial psychiatric practice of electroshock, still used in Irish hospitals today, will take place in Cork next Saturday, May 12th.


The procedure, carried out under general anaesthetic, involves passing an electric current through a person’s brain sufficient to cause a grand mal epileptic seizure.


Proponents cannot say definitely how it works but reserve the right to administer it.  Opponents say there is no scientific evidence that so-called mental illnesses exist and equally that there are no biological markers to prove that electroshock works, even as it definitely causes cognitive impairment and permanent memory loss.


The latest figures from The Mental Health Commission show that electroshock was given to 243 people in Ireland in 2015, two thirds of them women.


The protest is the 10th organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor group which campaigns for human rights and against forced treatment.


It is being held this year to coincide with a ‘First Do No Harm’ protest against the American Psychiatric Association  held in New York last Sunday and the worldwide International Protest to Ban Shock Treatment on May 12th.


It takes place at 2pm outside the park on The Grand Parade, Cork and testimony will be given by people who have had personal experience of the procedure.




Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland,


May 7th, 2018.

Phone: 086 0624445.


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