No plans to examine fluoride in public water despite promise

The Government have no plans for an international group of consultants to examine the use of fluoride in public water schemes, despite promises by a minister that this would be done.

Junior health minister Alex White has said that there are no plans for such a consortium to examine fluoride in water and a Government-commissioned review will instead examine concerns.

His comments come despite a previous promise by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney that the matter would be investigated by international consultants.

Mr Coveney made the pledge to Fine Gael councillors in March just before they voted to ban the use of fluoride in county schemes.

His promise was made behind doors to party councillors at a meeting in Cork.

Councillors had written to Health Minister James Reilly urging him to stop fluoridation.

Ireland is the only EU country and one of only two in the world with a national mandatory public water fluoridation policy.

During a lengthy debate on the issue on the matter in March, then Mayor of County Cork, Fine Gael councillor Noel O’Connor, said he welcomed the news given to his party members by Mr Coveney.

But Mr White, in a written parliamentary response to Independent TD Denis Naughten, said there were “no plans” to establish such a group.

Mr White said his department kept the policy of water fluoridation under constant review and that a review on fluoridation was being conducted by the Health Research Board.

Responding to Mr White’s comments, deputy Naughten told the Irish Examiner: “There has been a lot of concern about fluoridation, this was reflected in the debate in Cork County Council. There is a lot of merit in what Simon Coveney has suggested in getting an international group to look at this and give their view.

“It should be facilitated. Maybe we should get a different answer on this.

“There are question marks over the use of fluoride in water particularly for very young children and this is a cause of concern for parents.”

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