Private Members' Business. - Hepatitis C Compensation Claims: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn on Tuesday, 11 June 1996:
That Dáil Éireann calls on the Minister for Health to extend the deadline of 17 June 1996, for victim's compensation claims to thead hoc hepatitis C tribunal until three months after the final court judgment is delivered in the first hepatitis C compensation case.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "That" and substitute the following:
Dáil Éireann affirms the compensation tribunal as an alternative to Court proceedings to provide fair compensation to persons who have contracted hepatitis C from human immunoglobulin anti-D, blood transfusion or other blood products.
——(Minister for Health)

I wish to share my time with Deputy McDaid.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I support the motion put to the House that there should be an extension to the deadline for claims to the hepatitis C tribunal. The importance of this issue was demonstrated by the level of interest shown by the public, the medical profession and those affected by hepatitis C. It behoves the Minister to act in an even-handed way in the resolution of all the problems associated with it. The request for an extension should be granted.

The nature of hepatitis C is complex and the prognosis is still dubious in most, if not all, cases. Approximately 700 applications have been received to date but we know that 1,300 or 1,400 people have contracted the disease. The time limit for receipt of applications should be extended to give everyone involved a chance to apply. Some people are still hesistant to come forward because of a lack of knowledge on some issues. The case before the High Court could have implications in terms of negligence. This is another reason people should not be rushed into making decisions before having all the necessary knowledge.

The Minister should accede to this request because the Blood Transfusion Service Board is at fault. It did not adhere to its previous high standards when it accepted blood for transfusion purposes from people with a previous history of hepatitis. That is how the problem arose. While I accept that the Minister previously extended the time limit for receipt of application by three months, there are sufficient reasons for extending it further. This is a reasonable request because of the lack of knowledge about hepatitis C. Extending the time limit by a few months would not place an additional cost on the Exchequer.

Many people, through no fault of their own, contracted hepatitis C and the Government has a responsibility in this regard. The Minister is a caring man and he facilitated that diagnosis of hepatitis C and its treatment at primary, secondary and tertiary level. However, in the final stages of this matter he is quibbling about the minor issue of giving people an extra few months to make up their minds about whether to go before thead hoc tribunal or the High Court. He should lean towards those affected and accede to Fianna Fáil's request to extend by at least three months the time limits for receipt of applications to the ad hoc tribunal.

On 13 December 1995 I spoke on a Private Members' motion on the question of hepatitis C and the compensation to which victims were entitled and I outlined the medical background which led to the problem. Women who had received anti-D immunoglobulin in 1977 developed clinical jaundice. Blood samples taken at the time tested negative for hepatitis B and were retained until a new test for hepatitis C was developed in 1991. A reliable test was not available for the condition which had been recognised only two years earlier. If that were the whole story we would not be talking now of culpable negligence. Three vital years were lost through gross negligence on the part of a State agency. A warning letter was received from a Middlesex hospital in 1991 about which no action was taken until three years later. Obviously, the victims of this mismanagement are entitled to fair compensation.

Last night the Minister was angry when he stated that he personally was not responsible for what happened some years ago. No Member on this side of the House is making that suggestion. I am sure the Minister, as an individual, is genuinely concerned about these people, but by at his own admission he is at the mercy of the accountants in the Department of Finance. I wish he had the courage to say to them that we are not dealing with an ordinary accounting matter which must add up to a certain figure, but with people whose health has been ravaged through no fault of their own and who must be compensated properly, irrespective of the cost. If the Minister were seen to address the problem in that manner no Member on this side would use the necessary expenditure as a stick with which to beat the Government at budget time next year.

Last night Deputy Hughes compared the Minister's decision to the choices facing competitors in a television game show and he used the example of "Take Your Pick". The Minister's refusal to accept the motion can be dictated only by financial constraints. This is not a case where prudent management demands cost cutting, any more than a parent would adopt such an attitude when deciding whether a child could have an expensive operation.

I was shocked to hear that approximately £1 million was spent by the Minister's Department on an advertising campaign directed at people whose names were known and who could have been easily contacted by post. For a fraction of that cost each of them could have been contacted by telephone. This is similar to a mass hypnosis programme designed to brainwash as many people as possible to opt for the tribunal and accept what it offers, but in saying that I am not casting any reflection on the personnel of the tribunal.

In my contribution last December I quoted from a letter I received from the Department of Health which stated that the tribunal would assess compensation on anex gratia basis. In other words, the State would not accept liability but would give a few quid away. The tribunal could be the most generous of the two alternatives but those concerned are entitled to their day in court if that is their wish. The Minister has laid down a rule that if a victim accepts an award in the tribunal he or she must waive the right to go to court later. He is telling these people they are not entitled to their day in court because he says so. I asked the opinion of a well-known lawyer on this matter and he said that if he had such a client and the High Court subsequently gave higher rewards for a similar case, he would go to court and challenge the State's right to prevent his client from having her case heard.

Nobody could accuse the Minister of being responsible for the condition of these women, but he is charged with the responsibility, on behalf of all of us, to ensure that fair compensation is available, even if it is necessary to make adjustments to the budget or to introduce a supplementary budget which nobody in this House would have the nerve to oppose. I appeal to the Minister to have the generosity of spirit to change his mind and accept the motion as it would do no harm to his reputation.

The outbreak of hepatitis C is one of the recurring nightmares experienced from time to time by most people involved in the practice of medicine. Like most areas today, medicine has been greatly enhanced by the addition to its resources of high technology. However, it is also a science which depends more than most on the application of human resources and, therefore, is subject to human error. Sometimes what might appear to be a small error, either in the performance of physical duties or the correct keeping of records, can start a chain reaction which could eventually result in something like the hepatitis C tragedy which is the subject of this debate.

I would ask the Minister to bear in mind the families of hepatitis C victims. I know of one such family in Donegal where the person involved died some months ago. There is no indication of how the families of these people will be treated. This infection has existed for years. In the case I mentioned the husband had to give up work to look after his wife. It is not the responsibility of the tribunal to deal with these families specifically, but I hope that when these cases go to court the families of victims will be taken into account.

Hepatitis A and hepatitis B were prevalent in 1977 and it was deemed acceptable to use the blood of a person with clinical jaundice. If the person involved had been male, the blood would not have been used. At that time physical tests and X-rays would have been taken and if no cause was found for clinical or environmental jaundice it was automatically categorised as non-A or non-B viral hepatitis. This infection came under a viral category at that time and, therefore, culpability lies with the Blood Transfusion Service Board.

I would ask the Minister to consider our motion, which requests only the postponement of this matter until after the High Court case that is pending.

I wish to share my time with Deputies Fitzgerald, Flaherty, Ahearn and McDowell.

I am sure that is satisfactory. Agreed.

Many of us begin our contributions by saying that our sympathies lie with the women affected by this virus and their families, but I genuinely sympathise with them and know exactly how they feel. I will never forget the morning it was reported on "Morning Ireland" that the blood bank had announced that all women who received anti-D in the 1970s should go for a blood test. Having received five doses of anti-D in the 1970s, two in the period in which women were most at risk, I was one of those involved. I do not consider myself a very timid person, and those who know me would agree, but I was practically paralysed with fear when I recognised fully the consequences. I realised there was also a possibility that my children would be affected and I recalled times when they had flu and other illnesses.

I was the first woman to be tested in Cork and I was very lucky in that I tested negative, but that does not take away from the fear and horror I felt at the possibility of being positive. I have always been very healthy and perhaps that contributed to the result. Because of my involvement in this matter I always read in detail documentation relating to hepatitis C. One tends to consider issues from a personal viewpoint and react accordingly. Having read the statements by the Minister, the Department and Positive Action and attended various committee meetings, I believe that a balance has not been struck in this case.

Three of the most saleable commodities are love, which is very easy to peddle, envy and fear, which is probably the easiest to peddle. The fear element of this argument has been sold extremely well. In circumstances such as this I wonder how I would react if I were in the other person's shoes, and since I was involved in this case I know how I would react. I would expect that I and my family would receive full health care, that I would have the option of going to court or the easier option of appearing before the tribunal and putting my case to that group of people, that I would have a month to decide whether to accept an award made by the tribunal and if I decided not to accept it that I could go to court and that, even if I applied to the tribunal and decided not to go ahead with the case for whatever reason, legal or medical, the tribunal would not force me to do so.

Some time ago I was involved in a campaign in circumstances where the State owed money to women over a ten-year period. I realise the work involved in going to Europe with petitions, employing solicitors and so on to uphold people's rights. Following publication of Dr. Hederman-O'Brien's report on this matter last April a system was put in place to provide for the victims of hepatitis C. That is recognition that an arm of the State was criminally negligent.

I have four extremely healthy children, and that might not be the case were it not for anti-D. I am, therefore, very grateful for its development. The manner in which the Blood Transfusion Service Board operated in this instance was disgraceful, but I find it difficult to blame it entirely in view of the fact that my children are healthy.

To peddle fear and misinformation, particularly among women who are vulnerable and are concerned not only about their health but about their families' future, is unacceptable. There are people who have a different agenda from the women involved — they see the possibility of another beef tribunal. It is appalling that women who have been treated disgracefully by an arm of the State will now be treated equally disgracefully by a section of society that should know better. I ask every woman involved to look at what is on offer, the speed at which it will be available, the care provided, the written contract for the future and the ability to return if they are not satisfied. Of the more than 60 women who have received awards, not one has been refused.

It is essential that this should not be a temporary measure and that the contract with the State should be continuous. Not all Governments will be as open as this one and not all have been in the past on various issues.

Self-diagnosis.

I have personal experience of that. As to the peddling of fear, last year Positive Action produced a list of items, virtually all of which have been dealt with, as Deputy Moffatt said.

Who is peddling the fear? Deputy Lynch has not told us.

However, every time a demand is met, another one is made. I worry that the agenda of those who advise these people does not include the good health and well-being of these women and their families.

Anyone who has followed this issue over the last year cannot but have the greatest sympathy for women who are infected with hepatitis C or its antibodies. In common with other colleagues, I have met women in my constituency who have been infected. They feel a profound sense of injustice; they feel they have been let down, primarily by a State service in which they had previously placed unquestioning faith.

The Minister and his predecessor have been unambivalent in accepting that the State will pay compensation to the women infected. This is as it should be but we are morally, if not legally, obliged to go further. We must do everything in our power to put all available information into the public arena. In so far as blame can be equitably allocated, it must be done. Whoever was responsible for supplying the infected product, it is clear that the women are blameless, they cannot and should not suffer for the negligence of others.

The women concerned have been well served by their representative groups and legal advisers. They have worked effectively to maintain the public profile of this issue and to ensure that it receives the attention it deserves from the Department and this House. People who are victims of an unfortunate incident such as this sometimes have a feeling of helplessness, of being alone. The existence and activities of Positive Action have given them a powerful moral and political voice and in that, the representative groups have performed a valuable and indispensable service.

As Deputy Lynch said, many of the points raised by Positive Action have been dealt with by the Minister and I am glad this has been possible. However, some outstanding matters of detail have not been agreed. I do not intend to go into them at great length, as the Minister has already done so, but I join others in hoping these matters can be dealt with, even at this late stage.

I agree with the previous speaker that the framework put in place by the Minister is essentially good. It would be, to say the least, unfortunate if the atmosphere were soured because it was not possible to reach agreement on relatively minor details. The Opposition has continuously sought to portray the Minister's response to this crisis as inadequate and mean-spirited. I reject this line. Both he and his predecessor are to be complimented on the speed and flexibility with which they approached the issue and on the extensive consultation procedure in which they have engaged. As he pointed out, the deadline for application by infected women to the tribunal has been extended to six months, after a detailed consultative process with the representative groups.

I am a legal practitioner, although I do not practise as much as I used to before I entered this House, and I am convinced of the advantages which tribunals, arbitration, mediation and other essentially non-confrontational settings have over legal proceedings. As a politically active person at the time I had some direct experience of the Stardust tribunal, held over a decade ago. There are worthwhile parallels between that tribunal and the current one. To the best of my knowledge, no award made by the Stardust tribunal was turned down. The matter was dealt with speedily and with relative informality. Most importantly, it spared the individuals and families involved, who had already experienced severe trauma, the further trauma of reliving the tragedy and the extraordinary expense which would have been involved in proving liability.

It cannot be overstressed that the terms of this tribunal are extremely flexible. For instance, the decision to go to the tribunal is not irrevocable — it can be withdrawn at any time to pursue the legal avenue to the High Court. Every citizen in this State has a constitutional right to redress through the courts. They cannot be prevented from exercising this right and of course the Government is not attempting to do so. The option of redress through the courts remains even after an offer of an award is made and the entitlement to reject an award is affirmed.

Under the tribunal there is no obligation to prove the case against the State, so victims are spared the onerous obligation of going to court to produce sufficient evidence to prove the State's liability. This is no small point. Even if victims took a class action, the costs involved would be considerable. Given the tecnical nature of much of the evidence, it is probable that the costs would be all the higher.

The Minister cannot be seriously accused of not publicising the existence of the tribunal or not encouraging affected women to come forward. As he said last night, extensive advertising of the closing date for applications to the tribunal was placed in the national and provincial press and it is clear from the figures that this has had its effect.

Deadlines are a crude mechanism but there is no doubt they work. They serve to concentrate the minds of potential applicants and their legal advisers and allow Government and the tribunal to make appropriate arrangements. Also, the tribunal itself has the right to waive the closing date in exceptional circumstances.

One further advantage of the tribunal system is that the High Court personal injuries list in Dublin entails a delay of at least three years and the lists outside Dublin are almost equally long. Many of the women affected by hepatitis C require urgent assistance. To an objective observer, it appears the tribunal offers the better way.

It is neither for me as Member, nor for the Minister, to tell women that they must go to the tribunal and eschew the courts — that is beyond what we are entitled to say. However, we may say that the Government has responded generously in circumstances where other Governments might not have. I urge the people infected to give every consideration to what has been put on offer by the Government.

As I am constrained by time, I will confine myself to a few points. It was a privilege to have worked closely with Positive Action over the past three years. I got to know many of its members and it has been rewarding to experience their determination to confront their illness and its effects on them and their families with realism and extraordinary acceptance. Even though many of them suffer from ill health they nevertheless are devoting all their energies to ensuring that an adequate health service will be available and fair and reasonable compensation will be paid to all who contracted hepatitis C from anti-D or other blood products.

I have been, and continue to be, a sympathetic supporter of many of their requests. With some of my colleagues I negotiated on their behalf; we were successful in some cases but unsuccessful in others. I wish to state strongly that Positive Action should never be regarded as agitators or as a pressure group. The first choice of these women is to continue with their work, whether inside or outside the home, to care for their families and to continue with their lives. The road they have taken over the past two years was not one of their choice but one which circumstances dictated to them.

The motion requests the Minister to extend the deadline of 17 June so that no claimant will have his or her case heard before the final court judgment is delivered in the first hepatitis C compensation case. It is no secret that I also believe — I have stated this publicly and privately — no claimant should be compelled to have his or her case heard before the outcome of the final court judgment. Last night the Minister said he had been assured that no applicant would be compelled to have his or her case heard without agreement on the date fixed by the tribunal for the hearing. I discussed this statement with him and he assured me that no applicant will be compelled to have his or her case head before the final court judgment if that is their wish.

Last week I was concerned when I heard that two recent applicants would have their cases heard in July. However, I was relieved to learn that requests had been made for an early hearing in those cases. I hope the Minister's statement will reassure the members of Positive Action that, even though they have to apply before 17 June, none of them can or will be compelled to have their case heard before the final court settlement, if that is their choice. This will have the same effect as extending the closing date. Many people believed the easy solution was to extend the closing date, but I am glad the Minister has met the requests made by me and many others to comply with the applicants' wishes in this regard.

Anti-D was a great drug for those people for whom it worked but it was a tragedy for those for whom it did not work. While it saddens me that this issue has had to be debated in the House on so many occasions these women can never be adequately compensated by the tribunal or court for what has been stolen from them, their health and future.

The women who have been affected by this appalling scandal are suspicious. This suspicion is well founded given their experience of having been given contaminated blood. I understand their suspicion, outrage, anger and mistrust. Some of their outstanding questions about what really happened will only be resolved at the end of the court cases, while further clarification on other matters will only be forthcoming when the cases are heard in court.

Positive Action has articulated serious questions as to who knew about the infected plasma and when. If I had been infected then and found I had been given blood even though somebody in the system knew there was a possibility of an infected source I know how I would feel today — I would also be sitting in the public gallery feeling outraged and unconvinced. I pay tribute to Positive Action for the strong case it has made on behalf of these women.

As Deputy Ahern said, nothing can compensate the people who have been infected with hepatitis C. This morning the husband of one of the women said on radio that no tribunal or court could compensate them for what happened. Lessons must continue to be learned from this saga. Apart from this scandal, women's experience of the health services has not been good. It is to the Minister's credit that he has begun to change this in a real way — he is the first Minister in Europe to do so — through the women's health consultation document and the more structured consultation process on the development of women's health services in all health board areas and the National Women's Council. This issue is related to that being debated here tonight.

Those who have not experienced this awful nightmare must ask themselves how they would feel if their wives were in this position. As legislators and policy makers we must look at how we can rebuild trust in the health service among the women who have been infected. Some of my colleagues and I have been trying to rebuild some of that trust and deal with some of the outstanding issues of concern to representatives of Positive Action, for example, the oral presentation of evidence at the tribunal and representation by the women's doctors at the tribunal. They are very fair points. It was encouraging to hear the Minister say that, in the cases heard so far, all those who wanted to give oral evidence had been able to do so and that solicitors had been told claimants would be entitled to give oral evidence.

The changes in practice in the tribunal in regard to the concerns expressed by interested groups should be acknowledged. It has also been clarified that all claimants who sought a provisional award in the tribunal have been granted such an award and that any proceedings before the tribunal can be subject to judicial review. I ask Positive Action to examine the Minister's statement that a date has to be agreed between the claimants and the tribunal. This will give flexibility to those who put forward their names at this stage to take account of whatever may emerge from the High Court hearing or the Supreme Court hearing, if it reaches that point.

I wish it had been possible to avoid this debate as I seriously question whether it is helpful to the women who are dealing with this issue in a personal way. Nothing can compensate these women for what happened. The Government has put in place a comprehensive health care package and introduced legislation to ensure that it is made available. I understand that there are positive feelings about this package. A tribunal with flexibility offers a better alternative than the legal system for these women. I understand that the women involved want to be absolutely clear on the out come of court cases before they take definitive decision. While Positive Action continues to represent the majority of them, all the women involved have an intensely personal decision to make about the route they and their families will take. I hope all relevant information and advice, legal and otherwise, will be made available to these women. While acknowledging that much work has been undertaken within the Department, I ask them to take an extremely open, accessible approach and make a very special effort to be responsive to any inquiries and requests for meetings, perhaps even set up a special facility between now and the final date to deal with any claimants' queries.

I am glad to have even these three minutes to say a few words about this major tragedy. This Chamber is not a very appropriate or sensitive arena for discussion of an issue such as this but, like Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, I do believe it should be discussed here. I predict that it is not the last time this issue will be discussed here. Rarely has a tragedy of this magnitude affected such a large group of people through an act of negligence, or worse, of this State. I hope it will be helpful to acknowledge that fact publicly and put on record the huge sense of obligation we all feel towards those affected.

The first groups of women I met were examining their immediate health needs and talking about medical card cover. Compensation awards were being dealt with separately. I remember the awful day additional papers were discovered and many women faced the reality, fear or shock that there might have been an extra degree of negligence over and above anything anticipated at that point. That is one of the issues that has led to this request for an extension of the application deadline. I know the depth of shock, the almost double injury felt on that day. I understand why applicants have pressed for this extension and why this issue should be taken one stage further in our discussions.

When we look back on what has been achieved by Positive Action in that period, we find it has been substantial and the Minister's progress in meeting 98 if not 99 per cent of victim's demands is significant. We started out with demands for a totally statutory provision for health care and compensation. We now have a full statutory package for health care. The issues of provisional awards and oral evidence, two of the remaining critical issues in relation to the compensation tribunal, have been clarified in writing and now by case law established by the tribunal to date.

There remains merely the question of whether women should have the time to hear the judgment. As many of my colleagues have said, the Minister expressly clarified that issue last evening. While I would have preferred that the requested extension of the deadline could have been granted, I am satisfied that, bearing in mind the number of applications before the tribunal, none would have been heard unless an early hearing was requested. The Minister has doubly clarified that issue. With that assurance I encourage all women considering making an approach to the tribunal to submit their applications before the closing date. That will not preclude their following the legal avenue. It will afford them plenty of time and leave them that option.

I propose sharing my time with Deputy Batt O'Keeffe.

I am sure that is acceptable and agreed.

Hepatitis C is a fright-ening condition. Its victims face an uncertain future, unable to plan for the contingencies of life with any degree of certainty. We must judge this motion in the light of that basic fact.

The idea of informed consent is not exclusive to medical practice but applies also to the law. I suggest that what is being requested here is an opportunity to allow victims of this condition to make an informed decision about their options — not a surprising wish on their part. This is why my party spokesperson tabled this motion. If agreed it would afford victims an opportunity to make a full decision having examined all the facts, determined by the courts established under our Constitution, determined by the High Court, where procedures by way of discovery are available, where cross-examination of evidence is available in open court, where the publicity and openness of those proceedings is guaranteed by the Constitution itself.

It has been suggested from the other side of the House that the option is always available to a hepatitis C victim to have recourse to the courts, but what the victims seek in this instance is the option or opportunity of making an informed decision having seen the facts exposed in the courts. This is not an unreasonable request. We all like to know the facts before making a final decision. It is understandable that many victims believe they are being rail-roaded into a conclusion by Government proposals and not being given an opportunity to consider all the facts. It goes without saying that we are all striving to ensure that proper compensation is paid. I am not endeavouring to make an issue of that with the other side of the House.

The motion is an appeal to the Minister to reconsider his decision, announced yesterday, not to extend the deadline. While he announced that the time limit would not be extended, he did say that the tribunal would not entertain any case, if that was an applicant's wish, until the conclusion of the proceedings before the courts. I found that a rather peculiar suggestion because, if one examines the scheme, which is the foundation of the system of compensation put in place by the Minister, one finds that the Minister for Health may amend it. I should like to know whether it is proposed to amend the scheme in the light of the Minister's utterance yesterday that cases can be deferred. As I understood the scheme, its whole basis rested on the independence of the tribunal. Yesterday we heard a ministerial utterance in this House suggesting how the tribunal should conduct its affairs. If the Minister wishes to secure or build up confidence in this tribunal, it is difficult to see how that can be done if an utterance of his can amend the very terms of the scheme. It was also stated that the tribunal shall determine its own administrative procedures, its members to be appointed by the Minister for Health.

I would like to know how the Minister, through a statement in this House, can even purport to direct the tribunal to hear or not to hear certain cases. This is not a mere lawyer's quibble. It goes to the heart of the point made at the very inception of this scheme that it would have been desirable to have these matters hammered out in legislative form. Had that been done in the first instance, this type of problem would not have arisen.

This Government talks a great deal about openness. Essentially what victims are seeking is a degree of open Government, the kind that is administered in our judical system through the High Court. They are not seeking it on an individual basis but rather on the basis of a case in respect of which proceedings have already been instituted which will afford them an opportunity to ascertain exactly what are the facts. It is not an unusual circumstance in human affairs that people are anxious to know the facts before taking important decisions in their lives.

With the permission of the House I should like to share my time with Deputy O'Donnell.

I am sure that is satisfactory and agreed.

I cannot understand why the Minister and his colleagues are so determined to oppose this motion, which is really an effort to ensure fair play, no more and no less, for hundreds of women who have been struck down by a condition which, in some cases, can endanger their lives and in most will curtail their lives and well-being.

Deputies Moffatt and McDaid, both medical doctors who are better placed than most of us to understand and grasp the full consequences of this tragedy, gave the stark medical facts about these cases.

Deputy McDaid referred to the plight of the families of some of the victims, something many people would not have considered. He referred to a case with which he was acquainted, where the victim died before she could go before the tribunal and her husband had given up his job to nurse her. His loss of earnings, not to mention the infinitely greater loss of his wife, do not appear to have been taken into account in the scheme of things. What would be the High Court's view of this type of case? If that man's wife had been killed by a motorist driving negligently, the damages awarded would have been substantial. I will be interested to hear the Minister's response to this type of case.

The Government is robbing victims of their rights and the truth has been heartlessly shown numerous times during the past two and a half years. Women who issued writs in court proceedings had letters from the Chief State Solicitor stating that if they chose to ignore thead hoc tribunal, their cases would be fought by the State right up to the Supreme Court. That was blackmail and intimidation of the highest order.

A June date was sought in a High Court action and turned down despite the serious ill health of the plaintiff. The judge in giving a date of 8 October said the woman could go to the tribunal if she became more seriously ill and wanted an earlier hearing date. The State contested that woman's right to anonymity probably in the hope that forcing her name into the public arena would dissuade her from taking court action.

The Government tried to shove a tribunal at these victims without giving any commitment to health care. Even at this stage, the health Bill for the hepatitis C victims appears more aspirational than practical given that the Minister for Health is unable to outline to the Dáil the specific funding he provided or the agreements he reached with the health professionals on the details of that Bill. In recent months the Dáil debated the hepatitis C issue on different occasions and those debates were singularly marked by the Minister for Health's refusal to make what he calls "any concessions". His refusal of concessions is totally inappropriate considering the circumstances of this tragedy, the worst ever in the history of the State.

His Fine Gael colleagues pleaded in the House for the Minister to reconsider the issues. The Fine Gael Parliamentary Party appointed three mediators to ascertain if common ground could be reached between both sides on this issue. Those mediators failed to secure even one change to thead hoc tribunal scheme. They did not even get a detailed certificate of authority to seek the right for the tribunal to ask details from an employer, the Department of Social Welfare, the Revenue Commissioners and others. They were not dealt with fairly by the Minister and their lack of success is a testament of the iron will with which hepatitis C victims were confronted.

The Dáil was told last week that the average compensation payment made by thead hoc tribunal in 62 offers was £106,000. The cases before the tribunal differ in terms of ill health and future prognosis, but does the House believe an average total payout of £106,000 is adequate compensation for a life-threatening illness, considering that figure most probably includes loss of earnings, travel, other costs and takes account of future worsening ill health and associated problems. I am sure the House does not consider that is adequate. I am also sure history will judge the Minister and Government and show that average award is not adequate or just.

The Minister tried to make the victims of this tragedy believe that applications to thead hoc tribunal meant people had confidence. They mean nothing of the sort. If hepatitis C victims had confidence that the ad hoc tribunal was a fair means of pursuing their compensation claims, the Department would have been flooded with applications from early this year, but that was not the case. The Minister is now using the threat of the closing date and the rigid adherence to the 17 June deadline as a means of trying to instil a false confidence in his flawed tribunal. If he is so confident, why is this tribunal seeking application forms without supporting documentation? The Minister should not be mistaken in believing that a pile of forms in Arran Quay on 17 June spells confidence. The confidence of which the Minister speaks must also be expressed in the light of more than 500 High Court writs that have been issued by hepatitis C victims. Surely that is a clear indication that the people suffering from hepatitis C do not have confidence in the tribunal.

The Progressive Democrats support the Fianna Fáil motion. I listened carefully to the Minister's speech last night when he defended the Government's decision not to extend the deadline beyond 17 June as called for under the terms of the motion and by the women affected by this scandal. He advises it is in the best interest of the claimants to get early legal advice as to which course of action they should pursue. To that end he argues that this, like all deadlines, focuses the mind and galvanises lawyers acting for those who have been positively diagnosed with hepatitis C. He argues that the indefinite extension of the date within which a claimant must apply would lead to uncertainty for potential applicants. He further argues that a deadline ensures administrative efficiency from the State's point of view. He gave an important assurance to the House and to the women concerned that he had been assured by the tribunal that no applicant will be compelled to have his or her case heard without agreement to the date fixed by the tribunal for the hearing. He made the case in defence of his position that the Government must have a reliable picture of the full financial implications of the tribunal for budgeting purposes.

Those arguments might seem reasonable from the point of view of the Minister representing the State. His advice represents a different and conflicting perspective from that being strongly given to potential applicants to the tribunal. Even after 8.30 p.m. the question as to whether the Minister has convinced the persons concerned that he is right and they are wrong about their fears concerning the deadline for the receipt of applications will still not have been positively answered. The conflict of legal advice given to the Minister and to potential applicants to the tribunal is at the heart of this debate.

It must be remembered that throughout the debate on this issue the Minister is representing the State. He is a defendant in these proceedings and therein lies the conflict and the difficulty. If the Minister is the defendant and the women are the plaintiffs, who is advising the best course of action in the public interest as distinct from the State's interest in this affair? That is where the role of the Dáil comes into play through the efforts of the Opposition, particularly Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn, who pursued this matter on behalf of her party. On 12 occasions we pressed the agenda on behalf of the women concerned because there is nobody else to press their case in the public interest. The Minister is a defendant in these matters and inevitably he will put the best case forward to protect the State's interest. The role of the Dáil in an elected democracy is to advocate the public interest on behalf of the women concerned. Was it in the public interest that the persons who had responsibility for the Blood Transfusion Service Board between the years in question should have been given golden hand-shakes in a deal negotiated by the Government? Is that level of accountability for presiding over maladministration on such a scale satisfactory in this democracy or in this House? It is not.

No Member of this House felt happy that that was an end to the matter in relation to accountability for maladministration, but that is what is offered by the Government. Following earlier negotiations on deadlines the Minister, by agreement, extended from three to six months the time limit within which a claimant must apply during the course of the earlier negotiations. Since then, a discovery of documents in a case before the courts has transformed the situation from the perspective of the victims and the State. It changes utterly the nature of the potential claim against the State. That is why their request in this motion that the deadline be changed is reasonable. They are advised, and I agree, that the decision in the Roe case could transform the nature of the State's liability to other infected women.

The fact that a court order of discovery revealed facts by way of a file which were not evident, despite the Minister's claim to the contrary in the expert group report, has necessarily heightened the suspicions of the women concerned. The Minister claims this was not new information. In other words donor X, the woman whose blood donations caused 90 per cent of the women treated with anti-D product to become infected, had a clinical diagnosis, from 1976 of infective hepatitis. This was before any of the plasma was used by the BTSB to make anti-D.

In dealing with this issue it must be remembered that these women have understandably lost confidence and are inherently suspicious of the State and of public administration generally. There is an ongoing fear of being sold short, of being misled. This may be unjustified and from the Minister's point of view may appear unreasonable. However, each victim has to be taken at face value, and from a subjective perspective, do not trust what is currently being offered to them. They are understandably suspicious of proposals. Their subjective view is one of unhappiness and suspicion, and they are being urged to take a particular course by their lawyers. It is inevitable and human that they will do as their lawyers advise.

One of the particularly unfortunate aspects of this method of dealing with compensation by tribunal is that the women are being dealt with as a group. Dealing with individual victims as a group and referring to them as a cohort inevitably diminishes the individual's sense of individuality. That goes to the heart of the matter. It may be tidy from the point of view of both sides to deal with the women as a group. However, in dealing with women who have suffered so badly in their own individual way, given their families, their psychological condition and their individual ability to cope with the levels of stress caused by this injury, one has to understand that it is very hurtful for them in the long term to be treated as a group because they all have their own stories, hurts and abilities to cope with this disaster. Each has a unique set of circumstances, a unique family profile, a unique health profile, a unique capacity to work through the tragedy which has befallen them.

It is sad that it has taken so long for the tribunal to be established and for the medical services to be put in place, and that everything has had to be extracted slowly and negotiated painfully by women who are sick. It is understandable that they are worn out and bitter. The State and the House must be appreciative of that. The use of language generally is very important in dealing with this matter. There is among the women a backlog of bitterness and disappointment fuelling the present debate. Deputies on all sides of the House are so sympathetic towards the individual women and their families that it is difficult to express their fury at how long it has taken for their negotiations to extract all the concessions they needed to have fair compensation and fair medical services.

The bottom line is that none of us knows the full truth. None of the women knows the full truth. They have reached the conclusion that the Bridget Roe case will finally extract the truth. That is the reason for the request for the deadline to be changed.

It is a shame that there is such a low level of truth between the women and the State at this point. I acknowledge that a full range of medical services has been put in place to the satisfaction of the women. However, the issue of compensation goes to the heart of the taking of responsibility by the State. The State has decided to accept responsibility. It promises fair compensation, to provide medical services, offers the tribunal and waives the obligation to prove negligence. Ordinarily this would be a very generous waiver by a defendant, because proving medical negligence is extremely onerous for a plaintiff. When there clearly is negligence, it is obviously in the interest of the State to waive the obligations to prove it, because a finding of negligence or a greater degree of negligence would not be in the interest of the State. If there is a finding of culpability or recklesss negligence, that changes the liability of the State. It will also make it difficult to retrospectively justify the manner in which the negotiated deal was done with the persons who presided over the maladministration in the first place.

Last night the Minister made a rather unworthy accusation of irresponsibility against Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn. This is the classic case of shooting the messenger. It is only through this House raising the issue, for the twelfth time, that the limits have been stretched and concessions extracted. Only last night we received assurances from the Minister on very important points which were still worrying the women. It is thanks to pressure from Deputies in tabling motions and amendments, and from the women outside the House, that the concessions were given, among them that no applicant will be compelled to have her case heard without agreement to the date fixed by the tribunal for the hearing, that in all cases heard so far oral evidence has been heard — it has been confirmed in writing to the lawyers acting for parties at the tribunal, that proceedings before the tribunal will be subject to judicial review and that all claimants who have sought a provisional award have been granted it. The Minister still holds out against extending the deadline. He says that it will make no difference, that the women will not be jeopardised or will not be detrimentally affected because of it. If that is the case, why not extend the deadline? The Minister has not made the case for not doing so. He has not made the case sufficiently from the point of view of the subjective perspectives of the victims individually. That is what matters.

The Progressive Democrats will support this motion. Perhaps there is still time, even at this late stage, for the Minister to reconsider the extension of the deadline. I note he says that the operation of the tribunal is subject to review, and that at any time in the future, if he is given evidence and is convinced that the workings of the tribunal are not serving the best interests of the claimants, he can use his powers to have it reviewed.

The Minister has good will, but everything has had to be extracted painfully by way of motions in this House. It is a vindication of Dáil Éireann that we have succeeded, as best we can — I include Deputies from the Government side — in negotiating with the Minister, in pressing the boundaries, in extracting concessions which are very important to this group of victims, individually and collectively.

The closing date for the receipt of applications to the Compensation Tribunal is next Monday, 17 June. The tribunal is situated in Arran Court on the quay adjacent to the Four Courts and was newly furnished, equipped and designed to the highest specification for the comfort and convenience of claimants. Features of the tribunal include: no person is compelled to apply to the tribunal; it is a matter for each person to decide whether to pursue his or her claim through courts or through the tribunal; application forms unsupported by medical data-records are accepted by the tribunal to comply with the closing dates as indeed are "letters of intent" to apply. This is indicative of the flexible and understanding approach being adopted by the tribunal; the making of a claim to the tribunal does not involve a waiver of any right of action; the time within which a claimant must apply to the tribunal was already extended from three months to six months; all claimants who have sought a provisional award in the tribunal have been granted a provisional award; claimants shall be entitled to give oral evidence; no tribunal award has been rejected; payment of an award is made within 28 days of receipt by the tribunal of notification of acceptance of an award; the tribunal has given an assurance that no applicant will be compelled to have his or her case heard without agreement to the date fixed by the tribunal for the hearing; the tribunal received an additional 51 applications today to bring the number of applications to date to 817.

Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn levelled serious charges against me both inside and outside this House in relation to particular information concerning the expert group report. It was suggested, both inside and outside the House, by Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn that as the expert group did not see a particular file, which had been discovered under a Court Order, it was therefore not fully informed on the clinical diagnosis of infective hepatitis of the donor to the plasma pool used in the manufacture of the anti-D product in 1976-77. At the time of the establishment of the expert group, the Department of Health, the then Minister for Health and the members of the expert group were in no doubt that the donor to the plasma pool had an episode of infective hepatitis.

It was suggested that the expert group report was based on incomplete information and the group might have reached different conclusions if certain documents had been made available to it.

The chairman of the expert group, Dr. Miriam Hederman O'Brien, in her letter to the Select Committee on Social Affairs stated that neither she nor the other members of the expert group had received "any information to cast doubt on the correctness of the conclusions" in the report. I am still awaiting an apology from Deputy Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.

The Minister of State will be waiting.

Certain sections of the media bear responsibility for the dissemination of misleading information through their lack of research and careless coverage — The Irish Medical News of 9 April 1996; "Today at 5" on RTE Radio 1 of 9 April, 1996;The Irish Times of 19 April, 1996; The Irish Independent of 26 April and 3 May, 1996; The Sunday Business Post of 5 May, 1996; the “Farrell” programme on RTE 1 on the 5 May, 1996; and The Sunday Tribune on 12 May, 1996.

This is particularly serious given the sensitivities of the issues involved. Despite Dr Hederman O'Brien's letter on 27 May 1996 having been circulated to the media, there has as yet been no real effort by the offending media to set the record straight.

I take this opportunity to urge all Members of the House in particular Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn to be responsible in their approach to all matters relating to hepatitis C to ensure that the stress and trauma being experienced by many of these people who have been diagnosed as having hepatitis C is not increased unnecessarily by misleading and imprecise information. It is of the utmost importance that the correct information is presented in all discussions on this matter. It is despicable to seek to gain political advantage from the tragedies of other people.

I confirm that at all times I have been responsible when discussing this issue in this House. It is largely due to the responsibility shown by Deputies on this side of the House that we have got concessions from the Minister for victims of hepatitis C.

The Government amendment last night to the Fianna Fáil motion on extending the deadline for the hepatitis C tribunal describes the compensation tribunal as an alternative to court proceedings. By any definition an alternative means an informed choice. That is not what applies if the Minister maintains the deadline of 17 June. If the deadline stays, victims will have to take one route or the other. This will not be a choice based on all the facts, it will be an uninformed gamble. If victims had a real alternative they would have the full facts and they could then choose to take their case to the tribunal or the High Court. As it stands they will have to gamble on not applying to the tribunal and waiting for the outcome of a High Court case and probably a Supreme Court case and instead going to the tribunal without the full facts and before the High Court and the Supreme Court have ruled. While the Minister said last night that victims would not be forced into a hearing on a particular day, provision is not made in the tribunal's terms of reference for postponement of hearings.

Based on what the Minister said last night, which was limited and carefully worded, there is no guarantee that a claimant can postpone his hearing indefinitely. Otherwise the tribunal would probably not have any cases and that is not what the Minister envisages. What the Minister said during a Private Members' debate is hardly legally enforceable by victims. Based on the Minister's refusal to change the deadline or enshrine indefinite postponements as part of the terms of reference of the tribunal, victims have to make a decision.

The decision is one that victims should not have to make and is unfair in the extreme. As we state in our motion, we want the deadline extended until three months after the final court judgment is delivered in the first hepatitis C compensation case. This is the fairest way forward and this is a reasonable request. Having listened to the Minister for Health last night, I have not heard any good reason for keeping the deadline of 17 June. All the reasons given by the Minister were for his own considerations with no regard for what the victims want.

Our reason for seeking this extended time frame is that the full facts of the hepatitis C contamination of victims have not yet emerged and the Minister for Health has failed to reconvene the expert group or establish an inquiry into the ongoing revelations about the hepatitis C contamination. The Bridget Roe court case has effectively become the only vehicle by which the truth can come out. It is unfortunate that a case taken by a citizen has effectively become the tribunal of inquiry for the 1,600 victims. This does not appear to influence the Minister for Health or the State's law officers. They seem intent on being as awkward as possible about this sick woman's case. That case will begin three and a half months after the current closing date for the tribunal.

There are many reasons to believe other facts will emerge in the court case and that at last we will begin to strip away the layers of the cover-up that has been perpetrated. The preliminary hearings in the case have already disclosed that the Blood Transfusion Service Board knew in 1976 that donor X had infective hepatitis rather than just jaundice or environmental hepatitis. It was disclosed in the preliminary pleadings that donor X's plasma was used to manufacture anti-D without her permission and without the permission of her clinician. The work for the court case has also uncovered files that up to now have been hidden away. Those files were not shown to the expert group that investigated the hepatitis C controversy, a fact which has been confirmed by the Minister, by the Minister of State tonight and by the chief executive officer at the Blood Transfusion Service Board before a Dáil committee.

I asked the Minister for Health, Deputy Noonan what he planned to do about withholding information from a Government-appointed inquiry team but he has not replied. Those files show that in 1976 the Blood Transfusion Service Board knew that the woman's plasma was not infected with jaundice but with the much more serious infective hepatitis. As many as six different tests are shown in the file all clearly marked infective hepatitis.

Victims have endeavoured unsuccessfully to get answers to the question posed by Deputy Frances Fitzgerald tonight as to who knew then about infective hepatitis plasma and what they knew about it. There has been a significant development in the courts in the hepatitis C test case yesterday which would point to further revelations in how the contamination occurred. The High Court yesterday gave the woman at the centre of the case the right to find out which officials of the Blood Transfusion Service Board had information on hepatitis in 1976. The woman's lawyers are now entitled to get what they could not get from the Blood Transfusion Service Board, the names of every employee who might have information on a plasma exchange donor who had been suffering from infective hepatitis in 1976. The court ruled that the woman was entitled to seek information as to the identity of each and every servant or agent of the Blood Transfusion Service Board who became aware of the quantization reports concerning donor X and the date on which each individual became aware of them.

I will take up a number of other points made by the Minister. He issued a thinly veiled threat to Positive Action, one of the groups representing victims, warning it that its Department of Health funding could be in jeopardy unless it toed his line. Positive Action and Transfusion Positive have been effective lobby groups and it is their role to be a thorn in the Minister's side. Without their presistence many of the facts of this scandal would not have been established.

They have also represented the public interest in this affair. Deputy O'Donnell agrees the Minister appears to have dropped this dimension and the sole hat he now wears is that of the defendant. The greatest failure of the Government in its response to the ongoing revelations about the Blood Transfusion Service Board and how this appalling scandal happened is that it has been part of the conspiracy and cover-up rather than revealed information.

The Minister made great play of the fact that he has made considerable concessions in the scheme of compensation and cited ten examples. For him to claim that these inclusions are signs of his flexibility is a joke. The exclusion of transfusion victims and standard legal provisions for minors from the first scheme was a massive oversight. For him to claim that including them in the scheme is a great deed is typical of his attitude to this affair. He seems to be able to regard the tribunal and the compensation scheme only as a charitable act by him. This is demeaning to victims.

The Minister has been expansive in describing how well the tribunal is working. I was surprised to hear that cases are scheduled up to 31 July only as he has claimed for some time that there are enough applications to keep the tribunal going until 1998. What will happen if every claimant seeks a deferral based on his comments last night? As Deputy Lenihan rightly asked, what is the legal basis for these utterances?

The provision for the deferral of cases seems to be minimal. Is it yet another ruse to get victims into the tribunal? Will the Minister include it in its terms of reference? Will an applicant be able to postpone his or her case for months on end or will there be a limit? Can all cases be postponed until after the final judgment in the Bridget Roe case has been delivered? That the Minister did not elaborate on all these points — this is critical information — leads me to believe this is a half baked notion to get some Government Deputies off the hook. Throwaway remarks in a Private Members' debate do not have legal status and will not be worth the paper they are written on when it comes to the crunch.

The Minister gave reasons as to why he will not agree to an extension of the deadline. None of them was convincing. I was surprised to hear him yet again use the inefficiency of solicitors and lawyers and his own departmental concerns as reasons for riding roughshod over the demands of victims. Surely, the convenience of the Department of Health is less important than what those infected want.

The Minister was keen to play up the significance of the letter from the expert group. Unless he has a different letter, that correspondence is most significant because it confirms that the expert group asked for all relevant documentation. Surely, the file discovered is relevant, yet, the chief executive of the Blood Transfusion Service Board, the Minister and the Minister of State confirmed that it was not given to the expert group. How many more relevant documents are there which the expert group asked for but did not get?

The Government is asking the victims to whom it has a responsibility, to give up their rights in the courts, to accept a non-statutory tribunal which does not guarantee them even basic fair play. What is fair about a tribunal which does not guarantee an individual the right to have a doctor or consultant heard in a case if this is important? What is fair about a tribunal which does not have the power to compel a witness to attend before it? What is fair about a tribunal which does not guarantee an individual the right to a provisional award or a contract if they accept an interim award?

As Deputy O'Donnell rightly said, it must always be remembered throughout this debate that the victims of hepatitis C are sick people. They are women, men and children whose lives have been altered by contracting a virus through the negligence of others. They will become more seriously ill in the months and years ahead. The main drug in use will only halt the progression of the virus; it will not kill it. Many will die prematurely and, for most, the quality of their lives has been changed by hepatitis C. It is these sick people to whom the Government has refused to listen and make concessions and is now bullying to a tribunal without even the simple comfort of knowing the truth.

My concern in relation to missing records continues. The Minister tried to suggest that only a small number of people are affected by missing records. However, when he was given ten cases as a start, records could only be found in two of them. Surely, he was not suggesting that only ten victims' records were missing. That would be a serious charge to make.

Fine Gael, Labour and Democratic Left Deputies have told victims privately they support the extension of the deadline. This was confirmed tonight by a number of Government Deputies. At the Select Committee on Social Affairs several Government Deputies unanimously supported the extension of the deadline and co-operated with sending a letter to this effect to the Minister. Many Government Deputies know this is the only effective way for victims to have options and alternatives. They should not bury their heads in the hope that hepatitis C and this controversy will go away. They should take a stand and communicate to the Minister the dissatisfaction they have expressed to the victims about his handling of the tribunal.

Goodwill is something we often talk about in this House. It is something hepatitis C victims have seen little of from the Government. This is an opportunity for Fine Gael, Labour and Democratic Left Deputies to show their goodwill towards the men, women and children in their constituencies who have been infected with hepatitis C. I ask them to have the courage of their convictions and support the extension of the deadline. They should take account of the promise in the programme, A Government of Renewal, to provide fair treatment and compensation to the victims of a State agency. Victims have a right to know all the truth. We as democratic politicians have a duty to ensure they know it.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 57.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bhreathnach, Niamh.
  • Bree, Declan.
  • Broughan, Tommy.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Foxe, Tom.
  • Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Walsh, Eamon.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hilliard, Colm M.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Amendment declared carried.
Question proposed: "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 58.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bhreathnach, Niamh.
  • Broughan, Tommy.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Dukes, Alan M.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Foxe, Tom.
  • Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Keeffee, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Walsh, Eamon.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hilliard, Colm M.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie,
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgin and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Question declared carried.