Reilly does U-turn on Shine abuse inquiry

MINISTER for Health James Reilly has said he is ruling out an inquiry into the case of disgraced former surgeon Michael Shine for legal reasons.

MINISTER for Health James Reilly has said he is ruling out an inquiry into the case of disgraced former surgeon Michael Shine for legal reasons.

As an Opposition TD, Dr Reilly had been an outspoken critic of his predecessor Mary Harney’s refusal to open an inquiry into sexual abuse claims against the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda ex-doctor.

However, the Minister said he had read the report from Judge TC Smith who had advised the Government against such a move because it would prejudice the legal cases being taken by 109 patients.

Speaking at a conference in Croke Park on Friday, April 8 James Reilly said that, while he would not rule out an investigation after the legal cases are dealt with, there will be no inquiry now.

Victims’ support group Dignity4Patients has criticised the defence, stating that Dr Reilly was highly critical of the lack of a fresh inquiry both before and after this review was completed.

Shine was a Consultant Surgeon in our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda from 1964 to 1994. He was cleared of 11 indecent assault sample charges in a 2003 case, which was heard in Dundalk.

However, he was struck off the medical register during a Medical Council fitness-to-practice hearing in 2008. The Medical Council considered allegations of professional misconduct on the part of Michael Shine in respect of nine male patients.

In respect of the three of the nine patients, the committee found that Shine had abused his position by assaulting/indecently assaulting these patients.

The decision to erase Shine’s name from the Register was confirmed by the President of the High Court on November 24, 2008.