Commission of investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at Lourdes is being considered by Health Department
Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has revealed that in a PQ response the Minister of Health has said he is considering the possibility of establishing an inquiry under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 into the allegations of sexual abuse of patients in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda in the 30 years from the 1970s.
The Minister has also said that he intends consulting with the Attorney General on the legal issues.
Last week the Taoiseach rejected a request from Gerry Adams TD to establish an independent inquiry into the Lourdes allegations.
Mr. Adams said:
“Those affected by the alleged sexual abuse of patients in Lourdes Hospital Drogheda have been waiting for decades for an inquiry and the truth. Successive governments have stalled on this. In opposition Fine Gael and Labour criticised the then Minister Mary Harney for refusing to establish an inquiry.
“In July of this year the Minister James Reilly acknowledged the trauma for the scores of patients affected. He said: ‘Many people have suffered as a consequence of not being able to have this issue aired in public.’ The Minister has the authority to change this.
“Following the Taoiseach’s refusal to establish an inquiry I wrote to the Minister for Health. In his reply the Minister said: ‘My department is currently exploring the options in this regard including the possibility of a Commission of Investigation under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004. I also intend to consult with the Attorney General in view of the complex legal issues involved.’
“This examination of options needs to be carried out as a matter of urgency. The Minister knows the hurt and distress that is being experienced by those affected by the alleged sexual abuse of patients in Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and they are looking to him to deliver on the commitments he made while in opposition.” ENDS