The Mental Health Act 2001 was formally enacted by the Irish Houses of Oireachtas (parliament) on 8 July 2001 and implemented in full on 1 November 2006. The Mental Health Act 2001 replaces and updates a number of older pieces of legislation, including the Mental Treatment Act 1945. The purpose of this paper is to outline the central provisions of the Mental Health Act 2001 as they relate to psychiatric practice in Ireland. This paper does not aim to examine the issues surrounding delays in the implementation of the Act; these issues are well explored elsewhere (Daly, 2005; Ganter, 2005; Lawlor, 2005; Owens, 2005).
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