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Thursday 22 March 2018

Patients demand urgent meeting over abuse report

Patients of struck-off medic Michael Shine today demanded an urgent meeting with the Health Minister over a decision not to publish a report on sex abuse allegations.

Support group Dignity 4 Patients said alleged victims gave evidence at great emotional cost and claimed it was inexcusable the Drogheda Review will not be made public.

Bernadette Sullivan, a former nurse who founded the group, revealed several requests for information on a publication date have been ignored by the Department of Health.

"Dignity 4 Patients discovered that the report was not being published as a Dail Question. This is inexcusable," added the whistleblower.

The group maintains 160 patients have claimed they were abused while Shine worked at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for 30 years up to 1994.

Former High Court Judge TC Smyth was appointed by Health Minister Mary Harney to hear complaints made against the disgraced consultant to decide if a full inquiry would benefit patient safety. It was carried out in June.

However, the Minister this week told the Dail: "We will not see it for the foreseeable future. The judge has recommended that it should not be made public because there are possible criminal proceedings on the matter."

Ms Sullivan said Ms Harney, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, and the Attorney General Paul Gallagher were fully aware a criminal investigation was in place when they established this review.

"Dignity 4 Patients is demanding an urgent meeting with the Minister," she added.

"The Minister must bear full responsibility for the impact of her decision on the people who have complained of sexual assault."

In 2003 Shine, who is now in his late 70s, was acquitted of 11 counts of indecent assault on six teenage boys between 1974 and 1982.

But five years later he was struck off the medical register for professional misconduct by the Medical Council which found he committed assaults on three male patients and undertook inappropriate medical examinations.

He was arrested at his home in Dublin city in May this year and taken to Drogheda Garda Station for questioning before being released without charge.

Dignity 4 Patients said a full public inquiry is vital in uncovering the details to ensure measures are in place to protect patients nationwide.

Press Association

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