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Open Access Research Publishing: Ethics Approval for Research

This is a guide to open access pubilshing in the heatlh services.

How can a researcher obtain ethics approval for research?

There are many Research Ethics Committees in operation in Ireland.  A definitive list is not currently available.  If you are the chair of a REC please contact me to include details of the REC on this page.  The list of RECs below are responsible for overseeing many types of health research and are the only RECs that are recognised under Regulation 7 of the European Communities (Clinical Trials on Medicinal Products for Human Use)

For Clinical Trials, please consult the Department of Health website.

The following 12 Research Ethics Committees (RECs) are in operation in the public health system in Ireland.  As stated above, these are the only recognised RECs for clinical trials, which also review other health research on human subjects:

Research Ethics Committee Coverage Counties

Tallaght Hospital / St. James's Hospital Joint Research Ethics Committee
Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24.

REC provides ethical review for non-clinical research which is generally restricted to research in Tallaght Hospital or St. James's Hospital.  See more at:
(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)

Ethics and Medical Research Committee St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group
Education and Research Centre, Elm Park, Dublin 4.
The EMRC will consider all clinical trials and research projects which are proposed to take place in any one of the group hospitals.
In addition an ethical opinion is provided for research studies for Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, Blackrock Hospice and St. Colmcilles Hospital, Loughlinstown.
(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)
Research Ethics Committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals (CREC)
1st Floor, Lancaster Hall, 6 Little Hanover Street, Cork

CREC reviews research applications for Cork Teaching Hospitals.

(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)

Beaumont Hospital Ethics (Medical Research) Committee,
Beaumont Hospital, Beaumont Road, Dublin 9

The Beaumont Hospital Ethics (Medical Research) Committee reviews applications to undertake research in Beaumont Hospital only.
(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)

Ethics Research Committee HSE Mid-Western Area,
Patient Safety & Quality Directorate, 3rd Floor Nurses Home, University Hospital Limerick, Dooradoyle, Limerick

Reviews applications to conduct research in:

  • Local Health Office Area Ennis
  • Local Health Office Area Nenagh
  • Local Health Office Area Croom
  • University Hospital Limerick, Dooradoyle, Limerick.
  • University Maternity Hospital Limerick.   
  • Croom Hospital.                                              
  • Ennis Hospital.                             
  • Nenagh Hospital.
    (In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)
Limerick, Clare, Tipperary (For exact locations see previous column)
HSE South-Eastern Area Research Ethics Committee Secretary, Research Ethics Committee Office, Old School Of Nursing, Waterford Regional Hospital, Dunmore Road, Waterford – (051) 842391
(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)
Ethics Research Committee, National Maternity Hospital,
Holles Street, Dublin 2.
The Ethics Research Committee (ERC) of The National Maternity Hospital considers all clinical trials and research projects which are proposed to take place in the hospital.
(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)
Irish College of General Practitioners Research Ethics Committee Research taking place in general practice
(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)
The whole State
Research Ethics Committee, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12. The research ethics committee of OLCHC reviews applications linked to that hospital;
(In the case of IMP trials can act for the whole state)
Galway University Hospitals Research Ethics Committee, Unit 4
Merlin Park Hospital

Contact the REC for further information.  All hospitals in this group include:

University Hospital Galway
Merlin Park University Hospital
Sligo Regional Hospital
Letterkenny General Hospital
Mayo General Hospital
Portiuncula Hospital
Roscommon County Hospital.

Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal.
Research Ethics Committee, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and Mater Private Hospital.  Mater Misericordiae University Hospital,
Eccles Street,
Dublin 7.
Reviews all clinical research conducted in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Dublin


Ethics approval for human health research

In November 2015, the Department of Health published the General Scheme of the Health Information & Patient Safety Bill.  This is still draft legislation.  Part 3 of this Bill provides for a new framework around ethical approval of human health research — as long as that research is neither a clinical trial of a medicinal product nor a clinical investigation of a medical device. The draft Bill includes:

  • a new remit for HIQA as a Supervisory Body of Approved RECs
  • existing RECs can opt to apply to HIQA to be Approved RECs. RECs can apply to be approved for the whole state or part of the state. There is no national definitive list of RECs in the country which review human health and social care research, but it is estimated that the number is 60-100 committees. It would be expected that only a fraction of that number would apply to be Approved RECs and that the remainder would continue to operate as they are.
  • HIQA will monitor the Approved RECs
  • Researchers can opt to submit a research proposal to one of the Approved RECs, via HIQA’s online system. Research proposals approved by an AREC will be approved for either the state or part of the state (depending on the status of the AREC), which is of great benefit for multi-site research proposals.

Research in Primary Care

The Health Service Executive has a National Primary Care Research Committee which approves all research proposals or requests to engage with primary care services, staff or providers for research or evaluation purposes.

For more information please visit:


TUSLA, The Child and Family Agency have details about Research and Ethics available on their website. Research Ethics Committee.

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