Forum Minutes of Meetings - 13 October 2000

Minutes of meeting of the Forum on Fluoridation of 13 October 2000
Council Room, UCC


  • Professor Pat Fottrell (Chairman)

  • Dr Wayne Anderson

  • Professor John Clarkson

  • Dr Patrick Flanagan

  • Mr Oliver Fogarty

  • Ms Dorothy Gallagher

  • Dr Gerard Gavin

  • Ms Dora Hennessy

  • Dr Howard Johnson

  • Mr Kevin Moyles

  • Dr Joe Mullen

  • Professor Denis O’Mullane

  • Dr Carmel Parnell

  • Professor Miriam Wiley

  • Dr Margaret Shannon (DoHC)


  • Professor William Binchy

  • Dr Dominique Crowley

  • Professor Cecily Kelleher

  • Professor Moira O’Brien

  • Dr Máire O’Connor

  • * Ms Nessa O’Doherty, Forum Secretariat, was absent due to illness so the minutes were taken by Dr Margaret Shannon


As Mr Moyles and Dr Parnell were unavoidably absent for the first meeting of the Forum, they introduced themselves and gave brief background information.

Agreement reached/ points to note:

(a) next meeting (i.e. 9/11/00) to have an earlier start time

(b) there will be no major presentations at the meeting of 9/11/00 so as to give time to discuss and assimilate the content of the presentations made to date and to discuss how to maximise engagement of the public and afford opportunities to non-members of the Forum to have their views heard

(c) the two guest speakers of 13/10/00 would be given time each and their presentations would be followed by discussion/ Q&A.

Professor Fottrell welcomed the two guest speakers, Dr Paul Connett and Professor Hardy Limeback, and thanked them for travelling to meet the Forum. The members introduced themselves for the benefit of the guest speakers.

Dr Connett and Professor Limeback agreed that the text of their presentations would be made available to the members of the Forum. A number of photographs of dental fluorosis were circulated to the group by Professor Limeback.

Presentations made by Dr Connett and Professor Limeback. Discussion followed.

Speakers agreed to forward details of the references for their presentation for circulation to the Forum members; those relating to Professor Limeback’s presentation particularly requested.

Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children, arrived and spoke to the group; he thanked them for their work. He stated that he is open-minded and free of prejudice on the subject of fluoridation; he wants the views of all interested bodies/citizens sought and examined as thoroughly as possible so as to give a fair and balanced report. The Minister then left to attend another official function.

Minutes of the meeting of 13/9/00 discussed. Apologies given for the misspelling of Professor Wiley’s name.

Points to note (contd.):

(d) format of minutes of meeting of 13/9/00 satisfactory

(e) VOICE wrote to the Department of Health and Children to clarify that they will not be participating in the Forum but will make a submission at the appropriate time; they would be willing to make a presentation to the Forum if invited - Secretariat to follow this up

(f) it would be useful to have a dietitian available to the Forum

(g) tasks to be done before next meeting:

  • members to provide comments on how to invite/ deal with written submissions from the public
  • advertisement in national papers/radio (particularly target local radio) to be pursued (by Secretariat)
  • web site to be set up (Secretariat to do this in liaison with Department’s Systems Unit)
  • possibility of advertising on national television to be investigated (by Secretariat)
  • get information on how best to contact County Councils - overall rather than individually (Secretariat to follow this up)

(h) target date for final report is September 2001 (final draftdue June/ July 2001)

(i) two papers to be provided by Professor Clarkson for circulation (by Secretariat)

(j) York Review commentary from British Medical Journal to be circulated (by Secretariat)

(k) writing of the report being explored by Department with IPA and other bodies/individuals - it is essential that the writer be independent, have good critical appraisal skills, a knowledge of statistics and have a dental or public health background - if members have any suggestions regarding suitable individual(s) they should advise the Secretariat

(l) it would be useful to have access to a bio-statistician to deal with the complex issues which will be raised

(m) suggestions for future guest presenters: Dr Cyrus Cooper, Dr Liz Treasure; they should be invited to submit synopsis of their proposed presentation to the Forum beforehand (Secretariat to follow this up)

(n) need for Forum to decide the key issues on which to focus - only when these are covered adequately can the report can be written

(o) action plan with time table to be developed at the meeting on 9/11/00

(p) request from individual to attend Forum meetings as an observer discussed - decision reached that permission for this cannot be given at this time as it was felt that it could lead to further similar applications - having a large number of observers could impede discussion - however, all minutes, etc. will be available in the public domain; Secretariat to respond to the relevant individual to give regrets but to invite him to give presentation to the Forum regarding his research in the area of fluoridation

(q) it might be useful to prepare a pro-forma letter/ questionnaire which could be sent to bodies/ individuals who respond to the invitation for submissions

(r) it is important that claims made by invited speakers be substantiated by them by reference to peer-review journals

(s) decision regarding video from Sligo Action Against Fluoride (forwarded by Galway County Council) deferred to a future meeting; video available in the interim to any member who wishes to view it.

Dr Mullen gave details of a meeting to be held in the House of Commons in London on 24 October 2000 with Dr C Evans - invited members of the Forum to go; Dr Mullen will be attending and will give details at a future meeting of the Forum.

Next meeting to be held on 9 November 2000 in Dublin (approximately 9.30am to 4pm). Professor Clarkson gave his apologies for the November meeting. Dr Flanagan to give presentation on 9/11/00.

Following meeting to be held on 14 December 2000.

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