John Saunders, director of Shine, which represents people suffering from schizophrenia, spoke to the Irish Independent. He said "While it is unfortunate that mental health will see up to a 1.8pc reduction, we do welcome the statement recognising that mental health services are provided to vulnerable people, and therefore should receive preferential treatment.
"We acknowledge that this decision was made within the context of a severe recessionary budget, however, we would still like to draw attention to the fact that at just 5.3pc of the overall health spend, mental health continues to be at its lowest level in modern history.
"In recessionary times, financial stress, unemployment, and debt can cause intense strain for people and can negatively impact their mental health.
"We also understand that, regrettably, many people with mental health problems and carers will be negatively affected by a 4pc reduction in social welfare allowances. Such cuts will further add to people's financial stress."