Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (175, 176)

Liz McManus

Ceist:

266 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of the Dunne inquiry; when it is expected to publish a report; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the inquiry is in difficulty because it continues to miss its own deadlines for reporting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3320/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

275 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of the Dunne inquiry; and when it is expected to report because it continues to miss its own deadlines for reporting. [3330/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health and Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 266 and 275 together.

The post mortem inquiry is non-statutory and is chaired by Ms Anne Dunne SC. Since the beginning of 2003 it has concentrated on the investigation of the post mortem policy, practice and procedure of the three main paediatric hospitals, such as the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght, the Children's University Hospital, Temple Street and Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin. Up to mid-October the inquiry had heard 56 hospital and non-hospital witnesses at oral hearings and had accumulated almost 3,500 pages of transcripts of oral evidence.

The chairman has informed me that the inquiry has received considerable co-operation from the hospitals and its non-statutory nature has not thus far significantly hampered its substantive work. The chairman is mindful of the need to haveher report completed as soon as is reasonably practicable following the completion of oralevidence.