PSI News


General Election 2020 - #Ask4MoreHSCPs

Health and Social Care Professionals: It’s Our Service You’re Waiting For

As part of the Health and Social Care Professions Alliance (HSCPA), the Psychological Society of Ireland is delighted to work with the other professional member bodies of the HSCPA in a collaborative General election campaign in calling for more Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCPs). The HSCPA is an alliance of the professional bodies of professions regulated, or due to be regulated, by CORU. HSCPA membership is growing and currently consists of representatives of the following professions: medical laboratory scientists; occupational therapists; orthoptists; social care; social workers; speech and language therapists; radiographers & radiation therapists; dietetics; physiotherapists; psychologists; chiropodists; and, podiatrists.

  1. The HSCPA calls for the establishment of an independent health and social care professions advisory unit in the Department of Health
    • To provide the Minister and Department with the expert advice and support that it requires operating in a similar manner to the Chief Nursing Office within the Department ensuring cost savings, efficiencies and reducing waiting lists
    • To provide the necessary expertise and coordination of care to ensure a more collective and cohesive approach for health and social care
    • To facilitate the development of advanced practice opportunities for HSCPs

  2. The HSCPA calls for the introduction of minimum safe staffing levels for health and social care professions services
    • This will cut waiting times for preventative, hospital, community and ongoing care
    • End the post code lottery for access to our services


In addition to the recommendations of the HSCPA, the PSI is calling on political parties to commit to improving the recruitment and retention of psychologists through:

1. Scrapping of the current national panel system of recruitment;
2. Funding of Counselling & Educational trainee psychologists & increase Clinical psychology training places;
3. Commit to bringing psychology staffing levels to at least A Vision for Change levels.

HSCPA member bodies are using #Ask4MoreHSCPs across social media to promote the campaign so all support of this is appreciated.

On 23 January, the PSI also released their General Election Manifesto calling for a Psychologically Healthier Ireland. To see the full Manifesto click here.



Psychological Society of Ireland releases General Election Manifesto calling for a Psychologically Healthier Ireland

Ireland will elect a new Government in February 2020. This is an opportunity for each political grouping in Ireland to have, at the core of their manifestos, policies that will work towards achieving a Psychologically Healthier Ireland.

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) fully supports the existing Healthy Ireland initiative of the Irish Government, though it believes that a Psychologically Healthier Ireland initiative needs to prioritise and include other areas not embedded within the existing initiative. The PSI calls on the different political parties to consider placing these recommendations at the core of their political manifestos and programmes for Government. These policies are informed and shaped by extensive psychological evidence and expertise that seek to improve the everyday lives of the citizens of Ireland.

Each of the political manifestos should contain actionable and measurable commitments that focus on:

1. Housing / Homelessness;
2. Education;
3. Access to Psychological Care;
4. Climate Change;
5. Direct Provision;
6. Sport & Exercise.

PSI President Mark Smyth says: “We need a new Government that is committed to improving the psychological welfare of its citizens. We don’t need election promises, we need evidence-based, actionable plans that address the structural inequalities such that are impacting on our citizens now. Our most basic human needs of housing, education, and a habitable planet must be addressed if we are to achieve another most basic but crucial psychological need, hope”.

A summary of PSI's steps can be seen below. To see the full Manifesto click here.





Watch Mark Smyth's address as PSI President for 2020

Current PSI President Mark Smyth gave an insightful address at the Society's 2019 Annual Conference regarding his presdiency for this, the 50th year of the PSI. Mark received a standing ovation for his honest and heart-felt words. If you missed the address, or would like to see it again, you can watch the full video here.


  2020 PSI President Mark Smyth delivers his President's Address to delegates at the 2019 Society Annual Conference  



Introducing Mark Smyth - PSI President for 2020

On 01 January 2020, Mark Smyth became the Society's President for the year that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the PSI. Mark, a Chartered Member of the PSI, is a Senior Clinical Pscyhologist with the HSE Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), and has served on Council for a number of years. Mark is also an active member of the PSI Communications and Events Committee. For more information on Mark Smyth, as well as his Council colleagues for 2020, please click here 



Watch Vicky Phelan's keynote speech at 2019 PSI Annual Conference

The recording of Vicky Phelan's keynote address at the 2019 PSI Annual Conference is now available publicly to view. 

To watch the full speech please click here.

Vicky gave an extremely moving and powerful keynote address entitled My personal experience of multiple traumas and the psychological impact on me and my family. She discussed how she and her family have dealt with not only her cancer diagnosis, but also her daughter's condition. In managing a cancer diagnosis or dealing with a sick child, Vicky outlined five things of importance:

  • support from family and friends;
  • support from medical professionals;
  • access to a support group;
  • psychological support;
  • time.



Psychological Society of Ireland 2019 Presidential Citations

Each year, the President of the PSI grants two Presidential Citations. The recipients must not be eligible for PSI membership and, as per the PSI Constitution, the Citations 'shall be awarded to those who, in the opinion of the President, have made a substantial, significant and ongoing contribution to the practice, application or understanding of psychology'. 


During his 2019 term as PSI President, Ian O'Grady chose to award Citations to Vicky Phelan and Catherine Corless. Vicky came to prominence in Ireland after she exposed the CervicalCheck scandal which involved the mishandling of cervical screening results, leading to the discovery that many women were not informed that their screening had failed to show signs of cervical cancer. Vicky continues to work tirelessly for justice on this issue. Catherine was instrumental in uncovering the information concerning the deaths of children at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Galway, with the Government taking the decision to initiate excavation and exhumation at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home. 

  2019 PSI President Ian O'Grady presents Presidential Citations to Vicky Phelan (L) and Catherine Corless (R)  



Winners of the Psychological Society of Ireland Member Awards 2019

The inaugural PSI Member Awards are designed to recognise excellence in research, practice and education in Psychology by PSI members. The Awards range from those studying or teaching Psychology to those making significant contributions in their professional careers. The winners of the 2019 Member Awards were announced at the Society's Annual Conference in November.

The category winners were:

  • Dr Tom Burke - Early Career Psychologist Award. This Award is aimed at Early Career Psychologists in recognition of a demonstrable contribution to the field of Psychology;
  • Professor Brian Hughes - Contribution to Research in Psychology Award. This Award is aimed at any Psychologist in recognition of a significant contribution to the field of research in Psychology;
  • Dr Ken O'Reilly and Dr Odhrán McCarthy (joint winners) - Contribution to Professional Practice Psychology Award. This Award is aimed at any Professional Practitioner Psychologists in recognition of a significant contribution to the delivery of Psychological services for the benefit of people, organisations or communities.


Dr Tom Burke receiving his Award from PSI President Ian O'Grady


Professor Brian Hughes receiving his Award from PSI President Ian O'Grady




Dr Ken O'Reilly receiving his Award from PSI President Ian O'Grady



Dr Odhrán McCarthy receiving his Award from PSI President Ian O'Grady



Psychological Society of Ireland considers HSE Panel System of Recruitment Not Fit for Purpose

From consultation with its members, the PSI believes the current Health Service Executive (HSE) panel system of recruitment is not fit for purpose and requires either a radical overhaul or should be scrapped.

In 2018, the PSI undertook a survey of members’ experience of the panel system and found that the majority of respondents believe the current national recruitment system is not working well in relation to:

  • Efficiency;
  • Equity;
  • Assessing competency. The system instead assesses the rote learning of textbook knowledge and training, and does not consider experience or Continuing Professional Development;
  • No matching of skill or competency to local needs, or goodness of fit between employer and employee;
  • Lack of consistency, accountability and transparency and experiences are of a system that is dysfunctional, rigid, inflexible and inefficient;
  • Significant inconsistencies regarding interpretation and application of eligibility criteria.

The PSI President Ian O’Grady states that: “The panel system as it currently stands, denigrates the role of specific allied health professionals to a generic number not matched to a job for suitability or expertise, contributes to difficulties with staff retention, subsequent unacceptable waiting list times and is ultimately unfit for purpose.”

For the full press release please click here.



The Psychological Society of Ireland 2019 Annual Conference

The 2019 PSI Annual Conference was officially opened by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mr Jim Daly, T.D., at the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny, yesterday evening.

Our latest talk in the Autumn Winter Lecture Series was presented by Prof. Siobhan O'Neill as part of the official opening. Prof. O' Neill spoke about Understanding Suicide & Self-Harm

We also have a small photo gallery of the PSI 2019 Annual Conference, which you can find here!






The Psychological Society of Ireland to honour Vicky Phelan and Catherine Corless with Presidential Citations at Psychology Conference

Vicky Phelan and Catherine Corless will be the recipients of Presidential Citations at this week’s Annual Conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI). The Conference, which will be officially opened by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mr Jim Daly, T.D., on Wednesday at 6.30pm, takes place at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny until Friday 08 November.

The Presidential Citations will be awarded at the Society’s Gala Dinner on Friday. PSI President Ian O’Grady said: “I am honoured to grant my Presidential Citations to two outstanding members of Irish society. The strength of Vicky Phelan’s resolve in the face of unimaginable difficulty is an inspiration to many, and she is a truly remarkable individual. I have enormous respect and appreciation for Catherine Corless for the effort she continues to make in keeping the Tuam Babies issue at the forefront of people’s minds”.



The Psychological Society of Ireland appoints new Chief Executive Officer

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) announced today that Mr Shane Kelly has been appointed as the Society's new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). After a robust and thorough recruitment process, Shane takes on the permanent role of PSI CEO at what is an exciting time as the Society prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. 

Shane, who was previously employed as the PSI Head of Innovation and Development and filled the Interim CEO role over the past number of months, has a wealth of experience and, already in the interim period, has initiated some excellent processes. Shane has a very strong member focus which should quickly filter down to the PSI membership.



PSI Podcast: The Psychology of Brexit

  PSI Podcast  


The PSI is very excited to announce a new venture! We are delighted to present our first podcast, in what will be a six-part series. The Psychology of Brexit sees media professional Máire Treasa Ní Cheallaigh joined by Prof. Brian Hughes and Prof. Ian Robertson to discuss this highly relevant topic.


See the PSI Media section for this and other relevant media clips or click here



The Psychological Society of Ireland launches Pre-Budget 2020 Submission

In advance of the upcoming Budget for 2020, the PSI recently took the opportunity to issue a number of recommendations for the Government to take into consideration:

  • Individually allocated Continuous Professional Development (CPD) budgets for Psychologists working in the Civil / Public Service;
  • Fund the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology training programme; 
  • Fund the Doctorate in Educational Psychology training programme; 
  • Expand the number of funded places in Doctorate in Clinical Psychology training; 
  • The development of funding routes and models that support the range of research activity undertaken by Psychologists in a range of public service settings;
  • A commitment by the Government to extend the funding of the Assistant Psychologist pilot programme;
  • That the Government would establish a working party, in conjunction with the PSI, to establish an evidence-based training programme for the Assistant Psychologist grade. 

The PSI's Submission can be viewed and downloaded here.
The press release can be read in full here.