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Ó Caoláin concern over HSE statement on variant CJD cases

31 January, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has described the recent statement from the Health Service Executive which expressed confidence that there was no link between the three cases of variant CJD connected to the Ballybrack, Shankill and Bray areas of South Dublin and North Wicklow as "premature".

Deputy Ó Caoláin questioned the nature and thoroughness of the investigation undertaken by the Executive as Tánaiste and Minister for Health Mary Harney only stated in reply to a Dáil Question from Deputy Ó Caoláin last Wednesday that an investigation had been ordered into the cases.

"I question whether a thorough investigation could have been conducted in such as short space of time," the Cavan/Monaghan TD said. "I would be very concerned that this issue has not been given the attention it needs. There is a very serious issue of public health in relation to this case. I am very uncomfortable with the statements from the HSE, which use terms such as "aren't likely to be connected" or "pretty slim". They are not in the least bit reassuring.

"I am also seriously concerned that the family of Jason Moran were not contacted in relation to this investigation, not least because they should have been kept informed of developments but also because they are potentially important witnesses in the investigation."

Deputy Ó Caoláin went on to say that he "didn't believe that this statement from the HSE would provide any comfort to either the families of the victims of CJD or to the wider population of the area where the cases occurred.

"I am calling on the HSE to publish all available material in relation to the investigation so that its thoroughness can be properly scrutinised. This is the least that the families can expect." ENDS

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