By Juno McEnroe

Saturday, August 28, 2010 Irish Examiner.

THE commission inquiring into secret vaccine trials has said it remains in the dark about what to do with a room full of files, amid calls for an independent inquiry into how children were tested.

A legal challenge nearly seven years ago effectively closed down an inquiry into the testing of vaccines.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which originally headed up the vaccine inquiry, said yesterday: “We have no legal authority with the documents other than just to return them. We have everything catalogued and ready to go when the department decides what it wants done with it.”

Its spokesperson said Health Minister Mary Harney had given no instructions on what should be done with the files. The Department of Health last night said discussions were ongoing with the commission regarding the trial files.

A department report previously found that at least 211 children in orphanages and mother and baby homes took part in four-in-one vaccine trials in the 1960s and 1970s.

Former residents of orphanages and mother and baby homes have called for an independent inquiry into the trials and one woman has already begun legal action against the drugs company involved.

Fine Gael last night demanded Ms Harney initiate an independent inquiry and bypass the legal constraints which closed it down.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Saturday, August 28, 2010