Hepatitis C scandal - Harney must publish US legal advice

The Irish Haemophilia Society has expressed deep disappointment that the Government has decided not to take legal action in order to recoup the money for the Irish taxpayer from the three American firms that supplied the infected blood products from which 91 Irish people died, and a total of 106 people were infected with HIV and 221 with hepatitis C.

Former Health Ministers Brian Cowen and Micheál Martin gave commitments that the American pharmaceutical companies would be pursued. The Tánaiste and current Minister for Health, Mary Harney, appointed a legal firm in the United States to look at the feasibility of taking legal action against the American companies.

The cost of the investigation came to €250,000, on top of the cost of the Lindsay Tribunal which came to €45 million.

On legal advice, Ms Harney explained that such litigation was unlikely to be successful.

Another American legal firm obviously believes that such a case can be won because it has offered to take the case on a “no foal, no fee basis” for 33% of any award. This was going to cost the Government nothing.

The infected people and their families have been betrayed, and the Irish taxpayer has been ripped off again. Ms Harney must publish her legal advice in the matter.

The Government’s reasons for reneging on its promises must be made apparent to everybody, especially the unfortunate victims and their families. The whole thing is about much more than money.

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