Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
01 230 35 36

IACP General Election Manifesto 2020

IACP release their General Election Manifesto 2020

With the talk of a general election in the Republic of Ireland in 2020 ever present, the IACP were proactive in outlining their aims and desires from the next prospective government. The IACP GE Manifesto has been distributed to the press offices of every political party in Ireland. We hope to see our values reflected in the parties' manifestoes in the run-up to the General Election 2020. 

IACP 2020 General Election Manifesto:

Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP)
The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) was established in 1981,
to identify, develop and maintain professional standards of excellence in counselling and
psychotherapy. Our work promotes best practice and the development of the profession as well as
safeguard the public.
As a registered Charity (CHY 6615) representing over 4,500 members, we are the largest Counselling and Psychotherapy Association in Ireland. The IACP represents the interests of both client and Counsellor/Psychotherapist in Ireland. We are a link between those seeking Counselling/Psychotherapy and our members (Counsellors/Psychotherapists). In addition, we provide information and set and maintain practice and training standards. We represent Counselling/Psychotherapy at both national and international level.
Most of our work involves developing high standards in the profession of Counselling/Psychotherapy. The IACP has established a comprehensive Code of Ethics and Practice. The IACP also partners with other National and International Counselling and Psychotherapy Associations to advance the development of Counselling and Psychotherapy worldwide.
Our membership is a bank of underutilised and adaptable talent who are instrumental in providing mental health services to Irish people of all ages. We would like to see the following mental health policy priorities for inclusion in Irish Government parties’ manifestos.

1. Increased investment in talking therapies and specifically, IACP is seeking support for a feasibility study to introduce counselling supports for second-level school children.

Irish children and adolescents are experiencing anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation at an alarmingly high rate. An RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons Ireland) study reveals that by the age of 13,
1 in 3 Irish children will experience a mental health difficulty. Demand for support in schools is also rising for issues of self-harm and suicidal ideation.
On 8th May 2019, at a presentation in Leinster House, the IACP outlined a proposal for the expansion of existing mental health supports to secondary schools, via the introduction of a State funded, on-call counselling support service for children who need onward referral from schools. Although these types of supports are available in many other countries there is no such established support system in Ireland.
The first step in this process will be to run a feasibility study as follows:
6 secondary schools to be selected in areas with longest waiting lists for mental health assessment and supports – currently CH04, Cork and Kerry
These 6 schools will be provided with access to therapists on an on-call basis for a period of six months. The IACP will select the therapists for the panel of counsellors based on their training and experience and meeting the requirements listed in IACP Standards for working with under 18s.
The referral pathway will be via the schools who will, following their own assessment, make referrals to the panels as needed. Having direct and timely access to these therapeutic counselling supports has been proven to be extremely beneficial to school going children.
This feasibility study is not proposing that the counsellors will conduct sessions in the schools but rather that the children who need support be referred onward from the school as necessary.
Based on data gathered from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and Irish case study statistics, the IACP estimate that 10% of pupils in each school would require on average 6 counselling sessions for the duration of the trial. Average pupil numbers per school = 500 (
The IACP proposes that:
The Irish Government support to fund this feasibility study. Therapeutic counselling for school going children is a proven cost-effective early intervention, with the ability to alleviate distress for young people as well as pressure on overstretched mental health services.
Overall Estimated Feasibility Study Funding Required

2. Expanding the existing supports which provide tax relief for medical expenses and a range of health-related benefits under the PRSI system.

The recent public survey carried out by B&A on behalf of the IACP found that while 92% of Irish adults think it’s a good idea to seek counselling/psychotherapeutic support if struggling with mental health, affordability is a barrier to seeking this support.
IACP proposes that:
One method to increase accessibility, not only for people on low income but also for the generality of the people in Ireland is to make counselling and psychotherapy services more affordable. We urge that serious consideration be given to expanding the existing supports which provide tax relief for medical expenses and a range of health-related benefits under the PRSI system, to include support for mental health services such as counselling and psychotherapy. The B&A research has shown that there is very strong support amongst Irish adults for a move towards universal availability and State funding of counselling/psychotherapy.

3. The same VAT Exemption for Counsellors and Psychotherapists as available for other allied health professionals

Under current rules, Counsellors and Psychotherapists must register for VAT once their total income/turnover for services exceeds the threshold of €37,500 per annum. This rate of VAT is the reduced rate of 13.5%. However, other allied health professionals such as Psychologists qualify for the exemption as it is deemed a medical service. Psychologists along with other professionals such as – Dietician, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Speech & Language Therapist, Orthoptist, Radiographer, Chiropodist, Chiropractor and Osteopath have had this VAT exemption in place for a considerable amount of time, including prior to being regulated.
IACP proposes that:
Counselling & Psychotherapy receive the same VAT exemption status as other allied health professionals.

Contact details:
Lisa Molloy
Chief Executive Officer
Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy,
Tel: 01 230 35 36
For media queries, please contact:

Hugh O’Donoghue, MPRII.
Communications & Media Officer,
Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy,
Tel: +353 (0)1 214 79 33
Mob: +353 (0) 87 720 60 33



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