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Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research is a rapidly evolving field of biomedical research with the potential to offer a wide range of medical benefits to patients. However, while stem cell research promises to deliver improvements in medicine, it raises considerable ethical issues.

In July 2006, the Irish Council for Bioethics established a Rapporteur Group to consider the scientific, ethical and legal issues relating to stem cell research in Ireland.

On 23 April 2008 the Council published the Opinion:
Ethical, Scientific and Legal Issues Concerning Stem Cell Research.


 Click here to download the report (pdf)

                       For a lower resolution version of the report (1.25Mb) click here.

Dr Dolores Dooley, Chair of the Council (above), speaking at the launch of the report. 

Opinion Document Launch

Chair's speech here...
Professor Green's presentation here...
Press release here...


Pictured at the launch of the report: Mr Ray Byrne, Law Reform Commission (left) and Dr Deirdre Madden, Medical Council (right); below: Ms Eibhlin Mulroe, Irish Platform for Patients' Organisations, Science and Industry (left) and Ms Avril Daly, Fighting Blindness (right).


Public Consultation

Prior to deliberating on the issues concerning stem cell research, the Council was eager to hear the views of stakeholders and the public. With this in mind, the Council held a number of meetings with interested parties from the fields of law, science, medicine, theology, prolife and patient advocacy.


In March 2007, the Council initiated a public consultation and invited individuals to express their views on stem cell research. The Council received a total of 2188 responses to the consultation. An analysis of the results is included as an appendix to the report.


Information Leaflet

As part of the consultation process the Council produced an information leaflet, outlining the scientific basics of stem cell research, to accompany the consultation questionnaire. However, given the significant developments that have taken place in the area of stem cell research in recent years the Council felt it was appropriate to produce an updated version of the information leaflet in 2010.

This new information leaflet discusses both the scientific and ethical issues relating to stem cell research.

Stem Cell Research: Hope or Hype? Exploration of the Scientific and Ethical Questions February 2010
Click here to download an information leaflet (pdf)


Terms of Reference

1. To consider the ethical, scientific and legal issues relating to stem cell research in Ireland
2. To seek the views of stakeholders and the general public on issues relating to stem cell research
3. To produce a report detailing all aspects of the Council's deliberations and conclusions on stem cell research


Rapporteur Group

Professor Andrew Green

School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin; National Centre for Medical Genetics, Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children
Professor Linda Hogan
Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Richard Hull
Department of Philosophy, National University of Ireland Galway