Press Release

Dr Maurice Manning presents the Report of the Working Group on Haemochromatosis to the Tánaiste

Dr Maurice Manning presented his Working Group’s report on Haemochromatosis to the Tánaiste today, 26 June.

In February this year Dr Manning agreed to chair a Working Group on Haemochromatosis for the Tánaiste. The Working Group was set up to examine the nature and extent of Haemochromatosis in Ireland and to advise the Tánaiste on the actions necessary to address the problems caused by Haemochromatosis.

Dr Manning said “Hereditary Haemochromatosis is a potentially life-threatening illness, which affects a sizeable number of Irish people. It is also an illness which can be easily and inexpensively detected and if caught on time, responds to relatively easy and inexpensive treatment.” The condition is characterized by excessive absorption of dietary iron and a progressive increase in total body iron stores.

He also added that “This is an illness which exists largely below the radar, its existence is unknown to many people, including some people in the medical profession, policy-makers and opinion formers”.

The report attempts to establish the extent of Hereditary Haemochromatosis in Ireland and the steps needed to get a more accurate picture of the condition, especially since current figures almost certainly underestimate the extent of the problem.

It examines the need for screening and awareness programmes, and for supports for existing sufferers. It highlights the important role of the Irish Haemochromatosis Association and it recommends the use by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service of blood from patients with Haemochromatosis. It calls for an end to unnecessary discrimination by certain insurance companies of people with Haemochromatosis.

The Tánaiste said “I welcome this report which sets a blueprint for the identification and management of Haemochromatosis in Ireland. I hope it will be widely circulated and that its recommendations will be implemented, so that people with the condition will be identified and treated as early as possible”.

The Tánaiste thanked Dr Manning and his colleagues on the Working Group for their professionalism in producing this report in such a timely fashion.