Co-chairs of the Oireachtas Cross Party Oireachtas Action Group on Lyme Marc Mac Sharry and Eamon Scanlon joined Consultant Specialist in Infectious Disease Dr. Jack Lambert at Dublin’s Mater Hospital for the launch of Ireland’s first Lyme Disease Resource Centre in Dublin.

Speaking following the launch, the two Sligo-Leitrim TDs welcomed the development.

Deputy Mac Sharry said, “Myself and Eamon are delighted to be associated with this new resource centre.  Dr. Lambert is to be commended in his proactive and compassionate approach to Lyme in Ireland.   Much of the medical establishment have ignored what has become one of our nation’s silent crises and taken refuge in outdated guidelines for diagnosis and treatment”.

“The LRC launch under the stewardship of Dr Lambert is a watershed moment for Lyme disease in Ireland in terms of the provision of education for GPs, support for patients and the crucial lobby for adequate recognition of the problem, better science and research, clinical diagnosis and appropriate care pathways.  A start has been made but with the ambivalence of the establishment there is a long hard battle ahead”, added Deputy Scanlon.

Also speaking at the launch was Jenna Luche-Thayer, a former Senior Adviser to the US Government and the United Nations.  Ms. Luche-Thayer, a pioneer of Lyme disease recognition and a former patient herself, founded an All-Voluntary International Committee and initiated a comprehensive approach, which helped to successfully establish new codes for life-threatening complications from Lyme.  The revised codes now include congenital lyme borreliosis.  This is the first time in over 25 years these serious complications have been officially recognised by the World Health Organisation.

“Our cross-party group within the Oireachtas will continue to fight for the progress required, but we are under no illusions that this will be anything other than a difficult task.  The new Lyme Resource Centre will operate on an ‘opt in’ basis and therefore we are encouraging all GPs to engage with the LRC and with Dr. Lambert.

“If we can succeed in doing this, it would represent a small but very significant step in the right direction in terms of education in diagnosis and treatment”, said Deputy Mac Sharry

“In over 25 years in public life, I have never witnessed such a rise in the prevalence of Lyme Disease in Ireland.  It is incumbent upon us all to do everything we can to assist Dr Lambert and the countless patients and families across the country who are afflicted by this debilitating disease”, concluded Deputy Scanlon.