Engagement with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline must take place over vaccine trials that were carried out in Mother and Baby Homes, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Mary Seery-Kearney has welcomed the Government’s commitment to the creation of a restorative recognition scheme to provide financial recognition to survivors of Mother and Baby Homes, and said contributions from the Church and companies that conducted vaccine trials must also be forthcoming.
Senator Seery-Kearney, Fine Gael’s Seanad Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Privacy Rights, said, “The Children’s Minister has said his Department is prioritising the
establishment of an interdepartmental group, which will develop scheme of financial recognition and bring forward proposals for it by the end of April.
“I welcome the fact that financial contributions have been sought from the Religious Orders. This week in the Seanad I said all avenues should be explored to ensure contributions are forthcoming, not just from the Church but also from the companies that ran vaccine trials.
“The Commission identified a total of seven vaccine trials which took place in the institutions under investigation in the period 1934-1973 and has identified a number of the children involved.
“It is clear that the trials were not compliant with the relevant regulatory and ethical standards of the time as consent was not obtained from either the mothers of the children or their guardians and the necessary licences were not in place.
“These trials all involved either the Wellcome Foundation or Glaxo Laboratories, companies which are today part of the pharmaceutical corporation -GlaxoSmithKline.
“The vaccinations which took place are a very disturbing element of what happened in the institutions and I believe there are questions to answer by GlaxoSmithKline.
“I welcome Minister O’Gorman’s commitment in the Seanad this week that he will consider what direct engagement his Department should have with GlaxoSmithKline.
“The Minister has also confirmed this week that copies of this report are with both the Director of Public Prosecutions and An Garda Síochána.
“I would welcome a review by the DPP into the lack of consent given to conduct these vaccine trials. with the view of a prosecution for assault. Assault does not oblige harm for a criminal offence or a civil tort to have taken place. The seriousness of this should not be underestimated and the GSK should step up to make reparation”, Senator Seery-Kearney concluded.