Dáil Éireann - Volume 649 - 04 March, 2008

Written Answers. - Health Research Funding.

Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will explore funding opportunities through Interreg or the Belfast Agreement to fund research for people suffering from duchenne muscular dystrophy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9168/08]

Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is prepared to explore potential avenues of funding for duchenne muscular dystrophy research through the North-South Ministerial Council; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9167/08]

  Deputy Jimmy Devins: I propose to take Questions Nos. 219 and 285 together.

[175] I met with Muscular Dystrophy Ireland in October last year. I wish to assure you that I am very aware of the situation for the families with children suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I am aware also of their hopes regarding a proposed clinical trial led by the MDEX consortium in the UK. The funding of health research being carried out in the UK is not appropriate to the Good Friday Agreement, North South Ministerial Council or the INTERREG Programme, as referred to by the Deputy in his questions. The Department of Health and Children does not directly fund research and I have recommended that the researchers apply to the Health Research Board for joint funding of the proposed trial. However, the researchers would of course have to compete with all the other proposals being received by the Health Research Board.

I understand that Muscular Dystrophy Ireland held the first information day on “Advances in the Care of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy” for families and doctors last Sunday 2nd March. I was pleased to be able to support Muscular Dystrophy Ireland by providing over €9,000 towards the costs associated with the information day.