The announcement by the Health Minister of the establishment of an inquiry into the prescribing of Valproate to pregnant women who were completely unaware of the likely impact on their unborn babies is very welcome.
This has been a long and torturous journey for the mothers and families in their search for truth as to who knew what, when they knew it and why nobody did anything to prevent it. I welcome this announcement and look forward to examining the details.
I am delighted for the families I have worked with over the past four years and commend the work of Karen Keeley, Chairperson of OACS Ireland and Epilepsy Ireland. I commend them for never giving up and for the huge amount of work they have done in gathering evidence.
We know up to 1,250 children born between 1975 and 2015 have been impacted here in Ireland. Some families have had a number of their children impacted.
There are many questions to be answered. Families need to be fully involved with this inquiry and need to be satisfied that the terms of reference uncover the truth.
We know a huge amount of work has been done in France that has led to the setting up of a redress scheme. A similar scheme needs to be set up here in Ireland.
Earlier this year, the recommendations from an independent inquiry were published in the UK. The ‘First Do No Harm’ report established that the harm done to these families was completely avoidable. This is a scandal of huge proportions.”