Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Meetings provide renewed hope to McGinley family

26 February, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty says that the family of deceased Strabane pensioner Maureen McGinley, who sustained 32 rib fractures following her death at Altnagelvin hospital on the 3rd January 2007, have been given renewed hope that they will secure the answers they deserve following meetings with Health Minister Michael McGimpsey and the Chair and Vice Chair of the Assembly Health Committee at Stormont yesterday.

He said,

"For over a year now the McGinley family has been attempting to secure answers as to how their mother Maureen sustained these injuries following her death. In-house inquiries by both the Alnagelvin Trust and the Coronary Service have failed to provide any answers and the family and the relevant authorities were making it clear in written communication with the family, their legal representatives and myself that they considered the case inconclusive and therefore closed.

"The family has rightly rejected the attempts to pull the shutters down on the case and in recent weeks have collected a 14,000 signature petition in support of their demand for an Independent Public Inquiry into the case, so as to not only provide the McGinley's with the answers they deserve but also as a means of ensuring that any lessons learned from the findings of such an enquiry would be acted upon to ensure that no other family would have to go through the same heartbreaking ordeal.

"The family was initially seeking to present the petition to Michael McGimpsey during their planned visit to the Assembly yesterday but on Friday the Health Minister's Office came back to say that they would be declining the request to take receipt of the petition. Instead, a meeting was arranged for yesterday with Iris Robinson and Michelle O Neill (Chair and Vive-Chair of the Assembly Health Committee) at which the family presented the petition and secured commitments that the case would now be taken up by the Health Committee.

"Thankfully, following this meeting and questions I put to the Minister on the floor of the Assembly yesterday afternoon about the case, Michael McGimpsey done a u-turn and agreed to meet the McGinley family. At the meeting, the Minister apologised to the family and undertook to re-investigate the case and did not rule out the possibility of a public inquiry.

"The outcome of yesterday's meetings provide renewed hope to the McGinley family that they will, at last, secure the answers they fully deserve and I will continue to support the family's view that it is only through a full Independent Public Inquiry that the truth can be established and also as a means of providing assurance to relatives of all deceased that the bodies of their loved ones are being treated with the utmost care, dignity and respect from the point of death." ENDS

Note to Editors

The McGinley family, through Pat Doherty MP MLA, have also lodged a complaint against the DHSSPS with Assembly Ombudsman Tom Frawley.

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