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Minister for Health urged to investigate CJD cluster

11 January, 2006

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney has been urged to initiate an immediate investigation into the apparent cluster of CJD cases in the Dún Laoghaire/Bray area. Sinn Féin Health and Children spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin made the call following the inquest into the death from CJD of Jason Moran of Shankill. Deputy Ó Caoláin said the outcome of the inquest was “alarming and raises major questions about public health and safety”.

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

“The Dublin County Coroner is writing to the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Agriculture and Food pointing out that this is possibly a significant cluster of CJD, given the previous death in the area and another patient currently fighting the disease.

“The Minister for Health and Children should initiate immediately and urgently an investigation into the source of these infections. The Department of Health’s CJD Committee should be convened right away to begin this investigation.

“These cases are alarming and raise major questions about public health and safety. I am especially concerned that evidence was given at the inquest that the Health Service Executive was unable to provide information about local meat supplies or slaughterhouses for ‘legal reasons’. What possible legal reasons could outweigh public safety considerations? There should not even be the suspicion that it may actually be commercial reasons that might prevent a full and open investigation in the public interest.

“I fully support the call of the family of the late Jason Moran for a full and thorough investigation. I offer my condolences to the bereaved.” ENDS

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