A National Research Ethics Committee

The Government has approved proposals by Minister for Health Simon Harris to prepare a General Scheme of a Bill to provide for national research ethics committees.

The Minister said, “Research ethics committees (RECs) 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 Department of Health said that over the last decade, there had been more than €150 million Government funding invested in clinical research and clinical trials infrastructure through the Health Research Board (HRB) alone. There had also been significant investment from State bodies, like Science Foundation Ireland, voluntary organisations and the private sector.

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“The proposed new system will address concerns that have been raised by stakeholders over the last decade about the existing RECs system in Ireland for clinical trials and health research generally. This approach will maximise synergies and value-for-money outcomes and make Ireland a more attractive international location for all health research.”