500 patients have been infected with Hepatitis C from contaminated blood transfusion.

Between 1977 and 1991, 350,000 patients received blood transfusions.

In 1991, Pelican House started routine screening of all blood for Hepatitis C. Investigations show that 180 blood donors with Hepatitis C gave blood during this period. As part of the investigation which is due to be complete in September, donor records are now being matched with hospital files.

At present, it is estimated that five hundred patients got Hepatitis C from contaminated blood transfusions.  Four hundred of these cases are traceable but Minister for Health Michael Noonan says that around a hundred cannot be traced. The Minister believes that rather than testing all 350,000 patients, anyone who had a transfusion and is not feeling well can be checked.

It isn't possible to find out everybody in the community who has hepatitis C.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on health Maire Geoghegan Quinn is critical of the government’s stance and says that anyone who had a transfusion during this period will be worried.  She believes that all 350,000 patients who received a blood transfusion should be traced and tested.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 July 1995. The reporter is George Devlin.