Local family to give evidence to Infected Blood Inquiry

The family of a Derry man, who was infected with Hepatitis C through contaminated blood treatment, are due to give evidence to the Infected Blood Inquiry this week.

Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:54 am

The inquiry will start to hear from people affected in the North in Belfast later today, among them the Conway family from Derry.

Local snooker player, Seamus (Shea) Conway, passed away in May last year, aged 45, after previously undiagnosed cancer spread to his liver.

His death was found to be linked to the virus he was infected with as a boy while receiving blood clotting treatment for Haemophilia.

Mr Conway was among around 5,000 people in Britain and Northern Ireland born with Haemophilia and known to have been infected with potentially deadly viruses, such as hepatitis C and HIV, when they were treated with contaminated blood imported in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Much of the blood used was gathered from prisoners in US jails.

Mr Conway’s sister, Christina McLaughlin, said that despite everything her family has endured over the last year she has been ‘horrendously shocked’ at the evidence that has emerged from the inquiry so far.

She said she believes that some of the stories that will come from people affected in the North may be even more shocking.

Ms McLaughlin, who attended hearings of the inquiry in London last year, said she has faith the process will uncover the truth.

“Although you don’t want other people to go through this, to hear that there were other people suffering the same fate gave us some kind of relief.

“We can’t change it for Seamus. We can’t change what he went through and his life was cut short. I think if he was alive today he wold welcome this inquiry.”

She said her family hopes to be a voice for others who are giving evidence anonymously.