OACS Ireland and Epilepsy Ireland meet with the Minister for Health

A spokesman for OACS Ireland and Epilepsy Ireland, supporting the families, said the meeting took place on Tuesday.

“The meeting was a frank exchange of views on the latest proposed terms of reference for the inquiry, between the patient groups and the minister and his officials,” the spokesman said.

This is the second time the group have been presented with potential terms for an inquiry. The initial terms were amended following advice from the Attorney General.

The spokesman said families expressed their frustrations at the pace of progress in establishing the long-awaited inquiry.

They also discussed, he said, “The reservations that exist with the currently drafted terms; and how families continue to struggle to access services for their children living with foetal valproate spectrum disorder”. He said the health minister expressed his commitment to the inquiry and to understanding the history of how this medication was used in Ireland.

“Our reservations remain in relation to the terms of reference, the powers of the inquiry, and ultimately on whether it will deliver answers for families,” the spokesperson said.

“However, it has been made clear that the currently drafted terms are the maximum which can be delivered.” He added: “OACS Ireland, as representatives of families affected, are now reflecting on the discussions, and will be consulting with members before deciding on whether to participate in the proposed inquiry or not.” A spokeswoman for the health minister confirmed that officials and Mr Donnelly met the families.