A public protest against the controversial psychiatric procedure of electroshock took place in Cork on Saturday.


It was organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a psychiatric survivor group which campaigns for alternatives and against human rights abuse and forced treatments.


Among the speakers were 2 women in their 60’s who spoke of the enduring memory loss and cognitive dysfunction they experienced afterwards.


Responding to claims that electroshock today is new, safe and effective, one of the women said there was no difference between now and when she had it over 40 years ago.  It was and still is a traumatic experience visited upon people who were already traumatised and vulnerable.


Twice as many women than men were shocked today while research from Trinity College and the Scottish ECT Accreditation Network saying it was effective was less than impartial being conducted by people who were in favour of the procedure.


It was also stated that the recent removal of the word ‘unwilling’ from Section 59b of The Mental Health Act in effect made little difference as legally, a person deemed ‘unable’ will be considered to lack capacity and with the agreement of 2 psychiatrists, can still be forcefully subjected to the procedure.


Another speaker said that psychiatry was the only branch of medicine that deliberately induced seizures in the name of help.  While it says that it is “an important and necessary treatment”, the truth was that many psychiatrists themselves refused to utilise it and that 2 European countries, Slovenia and Luxembourg, had totally banned its use.


The protest, the 8th organised by MindFreedom Ireland, took place in torrential rain and was attended by people from many parts of the country and also by members of The Irish Critical Voices Network which is a network of people from diverse backgrounds who want an Irish mental health system which is not based on the traditional bio-medical model.





Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland,





A public protest against the controversial psychiatric practice of electroshock will take place in Cork on Saturday, May 7th.


It is being organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor group which campaigns against human rights abuse and forced ‘treatments’.


During electroshock, an electric current is passed through the brain inducing a grand mal seizure. It is an extremely controversial procedure with proponents claiming it as an essential last resort treatment.  Critics say it causes trauma, brain damage and enduring memory loss, is outdated and dehumanising and call for its total abolition.


The most recent figures from The Mental Health Commission show a national increase in the use of electroshock with a 70% increase in the number of programmes administered without consent.


A recent amendment to the Mental health Act 2001 removed the word ‘unwilling’ but in leaving the word ‘unable’ effectively left the power to forcefully administer it still in the hands of two psychiatrists.


This will be the 8th protest organised by MindFreedom Ireland and takes place between 2pm and 4pm outside Bishop Lucey Park on Grand Parade.  Testimonies on how it affected them will be given by survivors of electroshock.




Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland,

16, Manor Close,

Thornbury Heights,



MindFreedom Ireland


An Evening with Terry Lynch

who will be interviewed by Patrice Campion

on his new book

'Depression Delusion 
The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance’

Personal testimonies will be given by Colette Ni Dhuinneacha, Barbara Barrett, John Sawkins and Mary Maddock on how the ’Depression Delusion’ impacted their lives followed by questions from the audience.

‘ Sing it from the Mountains’ composed by Mary Maddock will be sung by Susan Mendez.

8.00 pm Tuesday 8th September

in the Imperial Hotel, South Mall, Cork.

Admission free


A protest against the psychiatric practice of electroshock held in Cork on Saturday heard calls for the total abolition of the procedure.
The Cork protest was part of a simultaneous 30 city international campaign.
Public testimonies were given by a number of recipients of the procedure who all spoke of the trauma, brain damage and enduring memory loss they experienced.
Latest figures from The Mental Health Commission reveal that 244 people were given electroshock in Ireland in 2012 with twice as many women than men being recipients.
The practice involves shocking the brain with an electric current to deliberately induce a seizure or grand mal convulsion.
It is an extremely controversial procedure with proponents claiming it is an essential treatment for people who do not respond to other methods.  Opponents say it is outdated and dehumanising and call for its total abolition and for more effective alternatives  to be made available.
The recently published Report of the Expert Group set up to review the 2001 Mental Health Act has opted to retain the practice but has recommended it should not be forced on people against their will while, at the same time, agreeing with proposed legislation under the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill that will still enable electroshock to be administered as “a life-saving treatment .. or where the patient’s condition is otherwise treatment resistant”.
The protest was organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a human rights survivor activist group opposed to forced treatment and was their 7th such event since their inaugural protest in 2007.
Jim Maddock,
MindFreedom Ireland.
086 0624445
021 4894303

MindFreedom Ireland do not consider that' ECT' can be therapy as it causes brain damage and therefore it should be abolished.

Doctors should not use brain damage as a 'treatment'. It shows how deprived our 'mental health' services are when electroshock is still offered to people in severe emotional distress.

It should never be prescribed for any citizen against their will. No 'mental health' laws should allow anyone to be coerced to receive brain damaging electroshock at any time. The long, sad history of electroshock, including modified electroshock has caused more harm than good.

Therefore the Irish government should protect all its citizens and put an end to electroshock. Not to have put an end to electroshock without informed consent is outrageous.

" Yet another treatment procedure comparable in repulsiveness was the use of electric shock so as to alter an individual's vision of his unhappy life. To the end of my days in psychiatry I could not accept that an electric shock would transform the parent mourning for a dead child, or the spouse for a lost partner, from being deeply depressed to being the classic 'happy man'. To me it was wholly reminiscent of the many futile, sometimes dangerous, procedures used in desperation by us in the 1930s to safe the life of the dying consumptive.........My job as house physician was to provide a completely purposeless ritual presence. I would stand at the head of the patient as he was anaesthetised and then apply an electric terminal at each side of the patient's skull........A series of standard shocks was then applied through the terminals.....Later, as a consultant psychiatrist, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES would I submit a patient to the procedure. What is more I found that they had NO NEED OF IT. The unexplained rational of the procedure was much too reminiscent of the use of cupping, blood-letting and the application of leeches." Dr Noel Browne, Irish Psychiatrist, author of 'Against The Tide'