A solicitor for the family of one of the children whose deaths were the focus of the hyponatraemia inquiry wants police to “investigate the allegations of perjury”.
The inquiry found that four children’s deaths were avoidable.
The damning report, published on Wednesday, was heavily critical of the “self-regulating and unmonitored” health service.
Des Doherty told BBC News NI that the “legal process has to continue”.
The inquiry was set up in 2004 to investigate the deaths of Adam Strain, Claire Roberts, Raychel Ferguson, Lucy Crawford and Conor Mitchell.
The inquiry chairman, Mr Justice O’Hara, was scathing of how the families were treated in the aftermath of the deaths and also of the evidence given to the inquiry by medical professionals.
He said that “doctors and managers cannot be relied on to do the right thing at the right time” and that they had to put the public interest before their own reputation.
Mr Doherty, who represents the family of Raychel Ferguson, said “after the emotion of yesterday, there has to be mature reflection” .
He urged the police, Attorney General and wider legal profession to deal with the findings of the inquiry.
He said: “The inquiry chairman made it clear that the coroner was misled.
“There is no other way to deal with matters now other than for the police to examine the report and investigate the allegations of perjury and preventing the course of justice.”
The Belfast, Southern and Western health trusts said they “unreservedly apologise” to the five families involved.
Hyponatraemia is a medical condition that occurs when there is a shortage of sodium in the bloodstream.
- while investigating the death of Adam Strain, the inquiry had been met with “defensiveness and deceit” and that “information was withheld” about what happened to Adam in the operating theatre
- there “was a cover up” in the death of Claire Roberts, whose death was not referred to the coroner immediately to “avoid scrutiny”
- poor care was “deliberately concealed” in the death of Lucy Crawford
- there was a “reluctance among clinicians to openly acknowledge failings” in the death of Raychel Ferguson
- in the death of Conor Mitchell, there was a “potentially dangerous variation in care and treatment afforded to young people at Craigavon Hospital”
In total, the inquiry made 96 recommendations including the establishment of a duty of candour on medical professionals “to tell patients and their families about major failures in care and to give a full and honest explanation”.
A man, 58 and a woman, 57, charged with a number of offences as part of an investigation into the sexual abuse of children, are due in court.
The charges include gross indecency with a child, incitement to commit an act of gross indecency, indecent assault and making indecent images of children.
It is understood the charges followed the search of a house in Newcastle.
They are due to appear at Downpatrick Magistrates Court.
Health authorities have warned of the danger of misusing diazepam-type drugs known as benzos.
Deaths due to the misuse of benzos in Northern Ireland increased by almost 20% in 2014-15.
Figures from the Public Health Agency and the Social Care Board show the number of deaths rose from 45 to 63.
Users of these drugs who have not been prescribed them and feel unwell are advised to seek medical help immediately.
The drugs were often a factor in fatal overdoses, especially when combined with other drugs, such as pregbalin or heroin, said Joe Brogan of the Social Care board (HSCB).
“The drugs have many potential side effects and may increase the risk of suicide in some people,” said Mr Brogan.
The HSCB has warned users not to buy the drugs from unauthorised sources, such as the street or the internet, as counterfeit benzos are believed to be in circulation.
Mr Brogan added that, even when prescribed by a doctor, drugs “should never be shared with other individuals such as neighbours, family or friends, even if their symptoms are the same”.
Victoria Creasey of the Public Health Agency said all drugs carried risks.
“The PHA strongly recommends that you do not take anything unless it has been prescribed to you by a medical professional and in accordance with your prescription,” she said.
Det Supt Bobby Singleton said the misuse of drugs and the resulting deaths were a real concern to the PSNI and to local communities.
“If you supply controlled drugs without a licence or in other unlawful ways you are committing a criminal offence,” he said.
He urged anyone with information about the unlawful supply of drugs in their community to contact the police.
The full scientific name for the drugs is benzodiazepines, and they include diazepam, nitrazepam, temazepam and alprazolam.
Firefighters have rescued a man and a woman from a car stuck on a flooded road in County Armagh.
The man was carried from the vehicle while the woman was led to safety on the Tirmacrannon Road in Loughgall at about 07:00 GMT on Monday.
On Sunday evening, firefighters were called to two cars trapped in floods on the Ballycrummy Road in Armagh.
A man in his 80s was rescued from one vehicle and treated by an ambulance crew at the scene.
He did not need hospital treatment.
Firefighters pushed the second vehicle out of the flood water at about 18:00.
The Cloveneden Road and Tirmacrannon roads in Loughgall and the Ballycrummy Road in Armagh are currently closed due to flooding.
The police have said some other minor roads in the area may be affected as well.
“Please take it easy on the roads and if it looks like it might be deep, take the long way round,” they said.
The couple were knocked down on the Moneynick Road on Saturday morning
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is conducting an internal review into the case of a woman who was knocked down and killed shortly after receiving treatment by an ambulance crew.
Shannon McQuillan died and her boyfriend was critically injured after they were both struck by a van as they walked near Toomebridge, County Antrim.
The incident happened on the Moneynick Road at about 03:40 GMT on Saturday.
The couple were in contact with police and ambulance staff before the crash.
The incident was referred to the Police Ombudsman, which is carrying out “preliminary inquiries”.
Ms McQuillan’s 21-year-old boyfriend remains in a critical condition in hospital, according to the Belfast Health Trust.
‘Fall on ice’
The couple’s movements in the lead up to the collision and their contacts with the emergency services are now the subject of two separate inquiries by ambulance staff and the police watchdog.
It is understood that Ms McQuillan fell on ice in Magherafelt in the early hours of Saturday and an ambulance was called at 02:06 GMT as she was found to be “unresponsive”.
Shannon McQuillan was said to have suffered a head injury in a fall in the hours before the crash
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said one of its crews responded to the call and treated the patient at the scene.
They then began to transport Ms McQuillan in the ambulance, but the NIAS spokesperson said the journey “was terminated on the outskirts of Toome”.
Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said the couple then came into contact with the police and he has called for a full investigation by the ombudsman.
“It’s my understanding that PSNI officers were the last to see Shannon on that busy road at that time of the morning in very, very cold conditions after she had suffered a traumatic blow to the head through a fall.
“I want to make sure that everybody involved followed proper procedures,” Mr McGuigan said.
Philip McGuigan said Ms McQuillian’s family were “devastated”
“I’m calling for the Police Ombudsman to look and investigate the facts around what happened on Saturday.”
The MLA added that Ms McQuillan’s family was “devastated” by her death.
The PSNI said they notified the ombudsman of the incident, following “normal, established protocol”.
The NIAS spokesperson said the service is conducting an “internal review of the circumstances of this call”.
“We are aware that a young life has been lost and that a family is grieving this loss. The service would like to extend its sympathies to her family and friends on their tragic loss.”
The spokesperson added that it would be “inappropriate to provide any further comment on the incident” after the PSNI “notified the police ombudsman’s office in line with their own procedures”.
Almost £500,000 has been paid out in compensation payments to motorists whose vehicles were damaged by potholes and other road defects in the past two years.
The figures, from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), released under the Freedom of Information Act.
They confirm that between 1 January, 2016 and 30 November, 2017, a total of 1,935 vehicle damage claims concluded.
Compensation payments totalled £495,358.04.
DfI also released figures highlighting that in 2017 more than 78,000 surface defects were recorded on nearly 16,400 stretches of road across Northern Ireland.
Which is worst road?
The surface at Farnaloy Road, Madden, in County Armagh
The road with the largest number of defects (108) was a stretch from Summerhill-Cherry Road near Upper Dunmurry Lane on the outskirts of west Belfast.
This was followed by the Greenan Road (97) outside Warrenpoint and the Sixtowns Road (80) between Blackrock Road and Bealnamala Bridge near Magherafelt.
Roads expert Wesley Johnston said it would cost more than £1bn to fully reinstate the entire 25,000km (15,534 miles) road network.
However, with this year’s maintenance budget totalling just £63m and with the latest cold snap creating new potholes, the problem looks likely to get worse.
“There is no doubt that as time goes on that the standard of the network and the surface of the roads is deteriorating,” he said.
Compensation payments for vehicles damaged totalled £495,358 in the past two years – pictured are potholes at Sixmilecross
“It is getting worse progressively over time, because each year we are under spending on maintenance so that adds to that deficit.
“So each year another bit gets added to it. What we are really doing is creating a problem for people down the line.
“Sooner or later there is going to have to be some reckoning because we can’t keep under spending year after year after year.”
DfI confirmed its limited maintenance budget.
Darkley Road in Keady in County Armagh
“The 17/18 structural maintenance budget is £63m,” a spokesperson told the BBC.
“In 2016/17 the structural maintenance outturn was £88m and in 2015/16 was £54m.
“Public safety remains a key priority for the department and despite a challenging budgetary situation, the department has this year delivered a significant programme of resurfacing and surface dressing and continues to carry out a programme of routine maintenance, including pothole repairs and street lighting repairs, to meet all essential public safety requirements.”
The spokesperson added that there “is a balance to be struck between building new roads and public transport provision and maintaining what we already have”.
“The Department of Finance recently published a briefing paper which outlines the impact of a number of future budget scenarios and we would welcome comments,” they said.
“Any decisions on budget allocation will be for a future Minister for Infrastructure.”
It was announced last week that DfI will receive £8.1m to support roads structural maintenance and the procurement of new buses by Translink.
Amanda Calderwood drives daily to and from the County Antrim villages of Broughshane and Ballyclare.
She said her car has had two burst tyres in the last week due to potholes.
She is frustrated with the standard of the roads she has to drive on.
Motorist Amanda Calderwood said snow means that sometimes drivers cannot see potholes
“I pass at least 10 to 12 potholes a day on my way to work,” she said.
“You can avoid them sometimes but with the snow you can’t always see them, it’s impossible to avoid them.
“I’m out of money, I know I can claim it back, but I have been told to claim it back I have get out of the car and to take a picture of the pothole.
“One of the roads I drive on is the Colin Road in Ballyclare and there is no way, unless I had a death wish, that I would step out of the car to take a picture just to get £50 back,” she added.
A section of a road in Omagh that vehicles have to navigate
Karen McShane, chair of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, said going back six or seven years the budget for roads repairs was £100m per year, but that figure has been cut.
“What we have is a £35bn asset and, if this was something that you owned, as soon as something went wrong with it you’d repair it and get it right,” she said.
“The problem is we don’t have any ministers in place to make decisions to move money around to allow us to make those repairs.
“You mention a figure of £500,000 [in compensation] – what is the cost of a fatality?”
The problem is not confined to country road, as this picture from Ormeau Road in Belfast shows
Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong, who sat on the assembly’s infrastructure committee, said: “The budget projections going forward means that instead of spending £100m we’ll be lucky if we get £20m spent on our roads going forward.
“They’re talking about turning off all street lights in another couple of years because we simply can’t afford it – fixing potholes on rural roads, you can forget about that.
“We’ll be talking about fixing only those roads that are the main trunk roads into urban areas.”