Minister did not know of directive, blood tribunal told

Former Health Minister Barry Desmond has told the Lindsay Tribunal he is appalled at being given incorrect information during the unfolding Aids crisis among haemophiliacs.

Former Health Minister Barry Desmond has told the Lindsay Tribunal he is appalled at being given incorrect information during the unfolding Aids crisis among haemophiliacs.

He had been told the Blood Transfusion Service Board had been using a heat-treated product since January 1, 1985 but later found that was not the case.

In 1983, the Council of Europe recommended that all countries should be self -sufficient with regard to blood products.

This meant that all blood used in Ireland should have been sourced here.

However, Barry Desmond told the inquiry he had not seen the recommendation.

He said he was aware that the BTSB had a policy of self-sufficiency but not in any detail.

He also did not know that people with haemophilia used imported products most likely sourced in the US.

Mr Desmond said he knew the Blood Transfusion Service Board was taking appropriate action but he did not know precisely what action that was.

He also told the Tribunal he regretted the fact that 33% of Irish haemophiliacs where infected with HIV.

This he said was extremely serious but did not see it as his role as such to develop further strategies on top of action being taken by the BTSB and his department.

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