A MAN who claims he was abused by former Drogheda surgeon Michael Shine has said that he feels “disillusioned” despite a promise by the Health Minister that an inquiry will be conducted.
Pat Cusack, aged 49, from Carrickmacross said that the news about the inquiry is a “publicity stunt” to appease the support group for former patients, Dignity 4 Patients.
“I think it’s just a red herring. It’s a publicity stunt to give him (Minister for Health James Reilly) peace for the summer,” said Mr Cusack.
Minister for Health James Reilly announced on Friday, July 22 - the final day of the Dail before breaking for the summer recess - that an inquiry into the alleged sexual assault of patients by Shine will be held.
Last year, a report by a retired High Court judge, appointed by former Minister for Health Mary Harney, recommended an inquiry into the sexual assaults should not take place.
Mr Justice TC Smyth said that such an inquiry would be of no significant benefit to anyone. Mr Cusack said the previous review had left him extremely disillusioned.
However, the support group for former patients, Dignity 4 Patients, has welcomed the news about the inquiry into the allegations.
The group’s executive director, Bernadette Sullivan, said Dignity 4 Patients had been calling for an inquiry into the assaults for almost 17 years.
Gardaí are investigating up to 120 complaints that Shine sexually abused patients while working at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
Over 75 civil actions for damages relating to Shine are awaiting hearing in the High Court. In 1994 a number of complaints were made to Gardaí in Drogheda alleging that Shine had sexually assaulted them whilst they were his patients.
Shine was acquitted of all charges in a four-week criminal trial held in Dundalk in 2003. Shine was subsequently found guilty of professional misconduct by the fitness to practice committee of the Medical Council in October 2008. He was removed from the Medical Register in the High Court on November 24, 2008.
Dr Reilly said he believed that many people had been caused undue suffering because the issue had not been “aired in public”.
The question of holding an inquiry had been raised by Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty when the minister appeared before a meeting of the Joint Committee on Health and Children