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Sinn Féin welcomes announcement of investigation into cluster of CJD cases in Dún Laoghaire area

26 January, 2006

Dún Laoghaire Sinn Féin representative Michael Nolan has welcomed the fact that the Health Service Executive is to carry out an investigation in to the cluster of three cases of variant CJD that came to light following a recent inquest in to the death of a young man from Shankill in Co. Dublin.  Mr. Nolan was reacting to a written response from the Department of Health, which was received by Sinn Féin in response to a parliamentary question by the Party’s spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD.

Mr. Nolan said, “Firstly I would like to welcome the fact that the Minister for Health has responded positively to the call for an investigation in to this matter of serious public concern.

“The tragic death of Jason Moran from Shankill, which led to the Coroners worrying report, has caused not only immense pain and suffering for his immediate family it has also caused considerable anxiety amongst the general population in the geographical area of Ballybrack, Shankill and Bray.

“It is crucial that this is an absolutely thorough investigation and that all possible connections between the victims are properly established, including the claim that two particular supermarkets in the area may have been the common factor in all three cases.

“The suggestion of threatened legal action preventing such a thorough investigation must be overcome and that all bodies, organisations and private companies who may have information in relation to these matters co-operate fully in an open and transparent way.  It would be an absolute scandal and a failure of public duty if any party sought to frustrate such an investigation because of so-called commercial sensitivities.  Two people are dead and another is suffering from variant CJD from one small geographical area.  It would be naïve to suggest that it is purely coincidental.  We need to know the truth.” ENDS

Sinn Féin Parliamentary question from Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD:

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her Department has received correspondence from the Dublin County Coroner pointing out a possible cluster of CJD cases in the Dún Laoghaire/Bray area; if she will initiate an investigation into this matter of public health and safety; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Response from the Department of Health and Children:

Following the inquest into the death of a young Dublin man from variant CJD (vCJD) I have received correspondence from the Dublin County Coroner who has requested an investigation into the apparent geographical connection of this case with two other cases of vCJD.  The Chief Medical Officer of my Department has requested the Health Service Executive to examine these cases in order to investigate any possible link between the two.

Currently, the CJD Advisory Group provides scientific, professional and technical advice to me on all aspects of CJD and recommends appropriate policy responses in the light of the evolving information and evidence on this topic.  The CJD Advisory Group will continue to monitor all developments nationally and internationally and, along with my Department’s Chief Medical Officer, will advise me of any relevant developments.

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