Posted by Andy Cochrane, Medical Affairs Coordinator on 19 June 2013
We had a very successful parliamentary meeting in Leinster House on the 19 June. The event was co-hosted by Deputies Jerry Buttimer and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, and provided us with a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the effects of meningitis and septicaemia and the importance of vaccination amongst politicians.
We were delighted with the turnout - seventeen TDs, four Senators and seven representatives from other departments heard presentations from a number of speakers including Dr Rob Cunney (Consultant Microbiologist at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre) on the epidemiology of meningococcal disease; Dr Ed Lavelle (Senior Lecturer and Director of Research, School of Immunology, TCD) on the impact of vaccination and the scientific breakthrough in developing the new meningitis B vaccine; and Dr Kevin Connolly (Consultant paediatrician formerly at Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe) gave an overview of the disease from a medical perspective.
One of our members, Mags Smart from Wexford, spoke very movingly about her son Ruairi who contracted meningitis and sadly died aged seven months last year.
In addition we were able to show two short extracts from our Book of Experience videos featuring Daráine Mulivihill
and Brian Cavanagh.
Finally, our Ireland manager, Diane McConnell gave an overview of our work and the need for support from politicians in supporting our work.
Our thanks go to our co-hosts and speakers, particularly Mags , Brian and Daráine for sharing their stories. Also a big thank you to our members who contacted their local TDs ensuring such a good turnout. We have followed up this meeting with the TDs and Senators, calling on their help with our campaign for the introduction of the new vaccine that protects against Meningitis B.