Minister of State Kathleen Lynch has expressed concern at the delay in filling more than 400 new positions for community-based personnel in mental health services.

Funding was allocated but none of the staff has yet been recruited.

The minister said that all the staff would be recruited by the end of the year.

Meanwhile the HSE has said that some of the funding that was earmarked for the community-based services may be used to shore up budgetary shortfalls affecting acute inpatient services for mental health patients in the Dublin/mid-Leinster region.

Mental Health Reform has expressed concern at the prospect of the diversion of any funds away from such services which they say are key to the development of mental health services.

In the budget, an additional €35m was allocated for mental health services of which €24m was dedicated to community based teams for adults and children.

The teams include psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers.

It was planned to recruit 414 staff this year but not one position has yet been filled.