News roundup

Published: 7 February 2019

New Bill for national research ethics committees

In a major step forward for health research, the cabinet has approved proposals for a Bill to support a mixed model national research ethics committee (REC) system. This would establish a national ethics committee infrastructure that will work alongside and support existing local or institutional RECs.

Group of people in a meeting

Welcoming the cabinet decision, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the HRB said,

'The establishment of a single, cohesive national Research Ethics Committee structure in Ireland is long overdue. It will help grow health research and clinical trial activity that will benefit people’s health and patient care, as well as underpinning health innovation and economic growth in Ireland'.

Speaking about the Bill, Minister for Health, Simon Harris said,

'Health research is essential to deliver the best care and treatment for our patients, better value for our health spending and more high-quality jobs for our workforce. Supporting health research is a key part of the Sláintecare programme'.

'Research ethics committees are key in ensuring that health research is carried out to the ethical standards expected by society, and we need to support a national system of research ethics committees that is fit for purpose. The new National REC system will ensure that there is public confidence in how health research is being conducted, especially in new and emerging areas of research'.

The HRB will work closely with the Department and engage with other key stakeholders to help ensure the Bill can be published and initial steps towards national REC implementation are in place by the end of the year.

Read the full Department of Health press release about national research ethics committiees.