Dignity 4 Patients has been in contact with my office recently to request a meeting with me. Early in 2011, I indicated that the issues raised by the case of Michael Shine, former Consultant at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda would be the subject of an inquiry by an Oireachtas Committee. This was dependent on the powers that had been proposed under the 30th Amendment of the Constitution. As it was not possible to proceed as proposed, I am giving consideration as to how best to deal with the issues involved. My Department is currently exploring the options in this regard particularly in the light of investigations by the Garda and various civil court actions. In these circumstances it would be premature to meet with Dignity 4 Patients, however, I would be open to a meeting with that organisation at a later date when my Department's deliberations are at a more advanced stage.
Dignity 4 Patients has also been in contact with my Department in the past three months concerning funding issues. One of those requests relates to ongoing funding and as ongoing funding for any service is a matter for the HSE, I previously asked the HSE to liaise with Dignity 4 Patients on the issue. I understand that the HSE has recently met with Dignity 4 Patients and signed a Grant Aid Agreement with them for €22,500 for one year's office supplies and voluntary support. The HSE also advised Dignity 4 Patients that they would not be in a position to provide any funding towards staffing costs as the current time and suggested that they consider establishing synergies with other similar agencies, in order to continue to provide support to their client group. My Department is also in receipt of an application for Lottery funding from Dignity 4 Patients and this is currently being considered.