Press Release

Aappointment of Dr Deirdre Madden, BL to complete the Report on Post Mortem Practice and Organ Retention

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., today (04 May 2005) announced that she is appointing Dr Deirdre Madden BL to complete a final report on post mortem practice and procedure.

The Tánaiste yesterday discussed with Government the Report received from Ms Anne Dunne on 31 March and the legal advice on the Report obtained from the Attorney General. The strong legal advice was that the Report can not be published in its present state. It is now necessary to appoint a relevant expert to examine the key points raised and findings in it in order to provide Government with a final report on post mortem policy and practice by the end of year.

The Tánaiste said “the Government has approved the appointment of Dr Deirdre Madden, BL, a distinguished expert on medical law and ethics, to undertake this task and to present her report to me by 21 December, 2005. I am disappointed that the Dunne Report cannot be published in its current form, five years after the Government set up the Inquiry. Until this report is produced there cannot be closure on the matter for many families and next of kin affected by post mortem practice and organ retention”.

When she met the Parents for Justice (PFJ) Group on 23 March last the Tánaiste informed the Group that she would brief them on her plans regarding the Post Mortem Inquiry Report following examination of legal advice and discussion with Government on the content of Ms Anne Dunne’s Report.

The Tánaiste met PFJ today to brief them on the latest developments and asked for their support for the work of Dr Madden. She said “the overall objective of the Post Mortem Inquiry is to establish the facts, to report on them and provide recommendations for the future, so that closure may be put on the matter for all concerned. Dr Madden will be appointed immediately and after examination of the documentation gathered to date, she will agree terms of reference to provide a final report and recommendations by the end of the year which will be published.”

It is envisaged that certain aspects of Dr Madden’s work will be conducted in public and that she will engage with PFJ and all relevant parties.

Biography of Dr Deirdre Madden BL

Dr. Deirdre Madden is a graduate of UCC (BCL 1987; LLM 1988; PhD 2000) and was called to the Bar in 1989. She has been a lecturer in the UCC Law Faculty since 1992.

Dr. Madden’s research interests are in the area of medical law and ethics. Her publications include a book entitled “Medicine, Ethics and the Law” (2002). She has been a Visiting Professor in the United States on a number of occasions.

Dr. Madden was appointed by the Minister for Health and Children to the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction in 2000. She has also been a member of the Research Ethics Committee of the Irish College of General Practitioners, and the Expert Evaluation Panel on Bioethics for the European Commission. Dr. Madden was appointed to the Medical Council in August 2004 for a five-year term to represent the public interest.