The HIQA report on the respiratory mortality in the HSE Mid-West region

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This blog post is on the HIQA report on the respiratory mortality in the HSE Mid-West region.


The HIQA report of December 2020

According to the HIQA report, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), the State regulator, said in a report there was a “significant association” between respiratory mortality and deprivation in Limerick. “Respiratory mortality is higher in more deprived areas. There is no apparent association between proximity to the Irish Cement plant and respiratory mortality,” Hiqa says in the report.


Irish Times and the HIQA report

The Irish Times have failed to identify the weak points of the HIQA report.

Namely and as it is stated in the section 2.2. of the report, the mortality data section states:

“2.2 Mortality data

Respiratory deaths for all ages were provided by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for the HSE Mid-West region for the five years from 2011 to 2015. This study was initiated in 2017 and, at the time, the 2015 mortality data were the most recent complete year of data available for analysis. Due to the anticipated small numbers of deaths for many of the EDs, five years of data were used to ensure adequate data to be able to detect spatial patterns of mortality”.

In other words, the HIQA report used data of 2015, long before the burning of toxic waste in the Irish Cement kiln!

This is a fundamental weakness of the report!

The data used are more than 5 years old! One might wonder what is the use of this report in relation to the EPA’s oral hearing?


The HIQA report and its publication time

One also might wonder why HIQA chose to publish this report during the EPA’s oral hearing!

The timing is strange, to say the least, if not suspicious!

In conclusion, the validity of the report is limited, it has nothing to do with the current situation and it should be just ignored!

It is rather peculiar for a broadsheet and respected newspaper (The Irish Times) to publish an article based on an outdated report with low scientific and social value!

O tempora, o Mores!


Ioannis Zabetakis