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Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers. - Death of Infant.

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 3

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17.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne asked the Minister for Justice (1) if his attention has been drawn to reports of a recent meeting of Leitrim county councillors at which Mrs. Florence Dick was present, (2) if he has any comment to make upon Mrs. Dick's statement to the councillors that her baby's body was returned to her, after post mortem, in a cardboard whiskey box and that the infant's remains were unwashed and bleeding; and (3) if he will now order a sworn inquiry to establish the facts in view of the widespread public disquiet concerning this matter.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I have seen the reports referred to. I am fully satisfied that the Garda acted properly in this matter and that it is unnecessary to have their performance of duty investigated.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Surely the Minister appreciates that the mother of this child would not go through the further stress and strain of appearing before a council unless there was some truth in the statement made? Surely he will have a sworn inquiry?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan Not at all.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Patrick J. Reynolds Zoom on Patrick J. Reynolds The question clearly conveys that the body was returned unwashed and bleeding and the inference to be drawn at the county council meeting was that that was the responsibility of Mohill District Hospital. These people have since denied that and I think the Minister should acquaint himself with the full facts. I shall certainly not allow that hospital to be dragged in here on untrue statements.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I am concerned only with the Garda. The Garda were merely the conveyors of the body.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Does the Minister disclaim all responsibility in relation to the condition of the body?

[407]Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan It has nothing to do with the Garda.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Does the Minister disclaim all responsibility?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan I am here to answer the question tabled with reference to the performance of duty by the Garda. They were merely conveyors of the box containing the body, and that is all.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Does the Minister maintain he and his Department have no responsibility in relation to the condition in which the body was returned to the mother?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan It is not part of the duty of the Garda.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon We are all Christian people in this country and, so far as I know, nobody wants to show disrespect to the shrine of the Holy Spirit. Some deplorable mistake, judging by the popular reports, seems to have taken place. Irrespective of whether it is the responsibility of the Minister for Health or the Minister for Justice, would it not be best, in the interests of everybody, to have the matter inquired into to find out if a genuine mistake was made and, if so, to administer a suitable rebuke to whomsoever made the mistake? I do not think anybody in the House believes this was done in malice. It was done because of some most deplorable oversight by someone. Is it not in the interests of everyone now that the matter should be cleared up in a sensible, calm way and a suitable remonstrance made to whomsoever was responsible for the mistake, instead [408] of having it come up week after week as a kind of scandal in the newspapers with the implication that nobody gives a damn when, in fact, everybody is much concerned to get the matter set to rights?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan There has been a lot of hysterical talk about this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Question No. 18.


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