- For haemophiliacs: Factor VIII and Factor IX
- For women who are Rhesus -ve: anti-D
As with any complacent organisation where profits and poroductivity trump ethics, it was the implicit policy of the BTSB, the Health Board and the government to divide and bully their victims into silence. We seen this as the foundation of most of the public interest Tribunals which have hoovered up tax-dollars since the foundation of the state. As an illustration, the first woman to take an anti-D case against the BTSB and the government was a mother and farmer from Donegal called Brigid McCole. Like Joan Power she was stonewalled. Treated by The Man as at best a charity case but more often portrayed as a disruptive and selfish compo-claimant and hardly ever as the innocent victim of a culpably negligent, mismanaged organ of the state. She had been demonstrably sick with hepatitis for ten years but, for two years, she stuck to her guns and finally, finally secured £175,000 compensation in October 1996. She died next day. Her husband topped himself 4 years later. The ongoing publicity helped anti-D/HCV women find each other to found Positive Action, so that they could share information, support each other and collectively force an admission of liability. Some money to help with their health care costs wouldn't go amiss either. The Finlay Tribunal was convened in the same month that Mrs McCole died; it reported 6 months later and cost £4.5 million. The maths indicate that the lawyers invoiced for 25x the amount reluctantly given to Mrs McCole.
Why give money to a farming family from Donegal? They wouldn't know how to spend it.
As a result of the Finlay tribunal, the Health Service Executive shelled out £840 million in compensation to the victims of shoddy practice, error and cover-up. The lawyers, who experienced no adverse consequences, netted £135 million. One firm Malcomson Law founded 1858 is still touting for business. You might think that the BTSB would be especially vigilant about screening donors and their donations. But no, in 1994 as the balloon was going up, they contrived to accept another HCV-contaminated donation and distribute that widely through the population. It beggars belief. Eventually, 30 years after the precipitating donation was accepted, criminal proceedings were taken against Dr Terry Walsh, the Assistant National Director at BTSB. He died before the case came to trial. The Gardai then went after Cecily Cunningham, a BTSB biochemist, recently retired from her position. Her case was struck out in 2007, four years after she was charged and eight years after a file was sent to the DPP. That took a visit to the Supreme Court which castigated the DPP for "inordinate and inexcusable" delay which breached Ms Cunningham's rights to s speedy trial.
Positive Action has not faired well. At least 25 of their members have died from liver-failure, liver cancer and other sequelae of HCV infection. Many of the rest are feeling crook most days and many are taking daily and expensive drugs to ameliorate their symptoms - there is no cure. They were founded in 1994 and received 'blood money' from the tax-payer via the HSE for 20 years. This is separate from the compensation awarded to individual anti-D victims. In March 2014, the HSE closed off the tap that kept on giving because they could not sign off on the accounts as a legitimate way of spending tax-dollars. Between 2009 and 2013, PosAct got through €2.3 million. Could Positive Action justify €15,000 to send four members to a 2012 conference in Boston or a budget of €125,000 for away-days, meetings and events in 2013? They could not, to the satisfaction of the HSE auditors. The press had an unpretty spiteful field day cherry-picking other items under Outgoings on the budget: angel-healing, 'gifts', dog-kennels and dry-cleaning. Their web-site
-$-We live in a grossly unequal society, with a tier of upper management at every organ of the state, who are pulling in €100,000+ salaries for being in charge. They draw the paycheck, buy the Summer house, pay their kids through fancy schools & college while attending meetings and signing dockets. But when their management skills are called upon, it turns out that my 20 y.o unschooled daughters could manage the Board, the Quango, the School or the Department better than them. When there is a crisis, they are immediately out of their depth because their only qualification for the salary is time served and increments gained.
Q. What do you call an Irish manager/director/board-member with no arms and no legs in a sea of trouble?
A. Bob . . . except that a bob would float whereas these goons sink without trace clutching a golden handshake.