I see the PDs are at it again. Mary Harney, (The minister for stopping enquiries) has announced that the Dunne enquiry into post-mortem practices in hospitals is to cease in less than six weeks time whether the final report is ready or not.
The scandal involves the taking of childrenâs organs without permission and selling them to pharmaceutical companies. Dozens of hospitals were involved in the secret practice. The history of the scandal takes the usual route common in a Banana Republic. It was set up on a non-statutory basis. This means that nobody could be compelled to give evidence or provide records and of course several hospitals and personnel have taken advantage of this and told the enquiry to take a run and jump. Parents giving evidence were required to sign a secrecy clause preventing them from going public with their stories. The changes made in the FOI also made the enquiry even more secretive. The enquiry has missed several deadlines because of the volume of work involved. Initially Michael Martin (The Minister for reports) said it would be complete in six months.
So, what are to make of this decision to suppress yet another enquiry? Well, the Government will probably say that it is costing the taxpayer too much – â¬20 to date. Martin Cullen, evoting and about â¬60 million will be enough to kill that excuse. Perhaps senior counsel Ms Anne Dunne is incompetent? Donât be surprised if they roll that one out. Perhaps the real reason is that what has been discovered is of such magnitude that, like the Ansbacher enquiry, itâs time to bury it.
This fits in with the Governmentâs plan after the enquiry is squashed – The Dept. of Health is to commission a new independent expert to draw up a report based on the information that has been gathered by the existing enquiry. This plan is enough to send shivers down the spine of even the most cynical enquiry/tribunal watchers and raises some questions.
How is this so-called expert expected to produce a report when Ms Dunne and her staff who are deeply intimate with the all the details are unable to produce a report at this time? The Dunne enquiry will cease to exist on the 31st of March; does this mean that Ms Dunne and her staff will have no input into the âexpertâ report? It seem so. Will the report be published or will Ms Harney use the same excuse for keeping the Ansbacher details secret â Sorry folks, itâs against the law to properly inform citizens.
This is my opinion. The enquiry is being gagged because to allow full disclosure would have too many consequences for too many âimportantâ people. The so-called expert will produce a whitewash. There will be some anger, especially from the parents of the children involved but they will be fobbed off and the usual Banana Republic excuses will be mouthed. Yes, it was terrible but itâs all in the past, things are different now, we must make sure that this never happens again, going forwardâ¦, blah blah blah
Ms Harney can then confidently depend on her statement during the Sheedy scandal. âThe Irish people will have forgotten all about it within a monthâ? Unfortunately for Ireland, sheâs right.