Seanad debates

Thursday, 12 May 2022

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Eileen FlynnEileen Flynn (Independent)

I wish to raise an important issue on the Order of Business that I brought to the attention of this House in January 2021 concerning cases of hepatitis. At the time, I genuinely thought it was unique to have cases of hepatitis in Ireland. Today it was reported on RTÉ News that unfortunately, a young child has died from hepatitis. Another young child needs a liver transplant due to hepatitis. In the case in Labre Park that I was speaking about, and in many other cases, there are people living in marginalised accommodations and in horrible living conditions within many communities. I have seen outbreaks of hepatitis A in Wexford, Carlow and on both sides of Dublin.

Not only am I nervous, but all of Ireland is also now nervous about the welfare of children in respect of hepatitis. It is a conversation that we need to have as soon as possible in this House. The Minister needs to come in to update us on the information he has and to outline how we can put services in place. There is a stigma and a shame that comes with hepatitis and now, more than ever, we need to have these conversations. I note the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC, has reported 450 cases worldwide. I would like to get information from the Minister for Health about this. This has not been in Ireland just for the last number of months but to the best of my knowledge, it has been here since before January 2021. It is important that we get this conversation going about hepatitis in our country now, as soon as possible.

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