Mary Maddock, a 76-year-old Cork grandmother, will lead a public protest in opposition to the still routinely used psychiatric practice of electroshock.  The protest will take place at 3 pm outside The Peace Park on the Grand Parade on Saturday, May 25th.

Electroshock is a procedure in which up to 120 volts of electricity are applied to the human brain to deliberately induce a ‘grand mal’ seizure or convulsion.  The recipient is given a muscle relaxant and a general anaesthetic but this does not prevent the subsequent feeling of grogginess, confusion, nausea and most importantly, cognitive impairment and memory loss which sometimes can be permanent.  Proponents say it is necessary in cases of catatonia or resistance to tablets while opponents, like Mary, say it is an inhumane, outdated and barbaric procedure and, in some cases, is still given to people without their consent. There is little or no research to validate that it is successful in the long term.

The latest figures from the Irish Mental Health Commission are for the year 2022.  They show that 265 ‘programmes’ of electroshock were given in Ireland.  A ‘programme’ can range from 1 to 12 individual ‘treatments’ with the average being almost 8.  In total, 2019 ‘treatments’ were administered nationally.  Tallaght University Hospital with 31 ‘programmes’ topped the HSE hospitals while St. Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin with 125 ‘programmes’ was the highest among the independent hospitals.

Out of 67 Mental Health Commission Approved Centres, 15 were still using the procedure.  Ages ranged from 22 to 94 with women, many of them elderly and grandmothers like Mary, outnumbering men on a ratio of 2:1.

The protest will also be attended by Dr. Karen McCarthy along with her Occupational Therapy students from the Dominican University of California, as part of their annual Irish tour of Irish psychiatric services.

The protest, which follows a similar one in Dublin last weekend, 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 electroshock or forced drugging.

Jim Maddock,

MindFreedom Ireland.


Mob: 086 0624445. 

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