An inquest jury has called for greater penalties against companies who do not take part fully in faulty product recalls.

It follows the deaths of two elderly women in Co Donegal on September 24th, 2009.

Friends and neighbours Annie “Nana” Gallagher, 84, and Sarah ‘Sally’ McDyer, 79, were found dead at Mrs Gallagher’s home in Glenties.

Mrs McDyer was found at the feet of Mrs Gallagher who was slumped in an armchair still holding a teacup by its handle.

The inquest into the women’s deaths in Letterkenny yesterday found both women died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning which was produced by a domestic appliance.

A verdict of death by misadventure in both deaths was passed by a unanimous verdict.

The jury also made a number of recommendations.

These included that the Commission for Energy Regulation does need to have a greater legislative mandate to investigate accidents involving LPG appliances.

It also said the National Consumer Agency needs to have a greater role in suggesting product recalls and should also be able to audit product recalls and also issue penalties to businesses that fail audits.

The recommendations come following the two day inquest onto the deaths of the two elderly women.

It heard how, after the death of a young French student Alexis Landry, 21, in November 2008, a number of Government bodies met to discuss the issue.

Mr Landry was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from a cooker in a flat in Macroom Co Cork.

The bodies, which included the National Consumer Agency, the Commission for Energy Regulation and the National Safety Authority, appointed independent investigators ‘Burgoynes’ to investigate the death.

It recommended a recall of all similar cookers which was undertaken through various ways including leaflet drops, newspaper adverts and by contacting al cooker retailers.

However ten months into this product recall there was another tragedy in Co Donegal when Ms Gallagher and Ms McDyer died.

However solicitor for the families of the two dead women, Frank Dorrian, said that having heard evidence from all parties it was clear that nobody was in charge of the recall process.

“It would appear to me that there was no Government agency to verse and enforce e recall,” he said.

The inquest also heard from Neil McGroarty, the owner of the shop from which Mrs Gallagher bought the faulty cooker.

Mr McGroarty, MD of McGroarty’s TV Centre of Donegal Town, said he was contacted by Beko following the death of French student Alexis Landry in Macroom, Co Cork.

He was asked to send a list of customers who purchased such cookers and then sent a list of 96 names in March of 2009 of which Mrs Gallagher was on page three.

Mr McGroarty said he was devastated to hear of the news of Ms Gallagher and Ms McDyer’s death through alleged carbon monoxide poisoning.

When he contacted Beko about the forwarded list, the cooker manufacturer said they had not received any list.

Catherine Lenihan, a former Assistant Director of the National Consumer Association, said recall pick-up rates on faulty products were notoriously low.

She said the initial pick-up rate for the recall on the faulty cookers was only between 5% and 10%.

Coroner Denis McCauley passed his condolences to the Gallagher and McDyer families.

He added that the fact remains that of the 5,375 potentially faulty cookers, there were still 1,355 still unaccounted for in Ireland.

“We don’t know if they are in bins or on scrap-heaps or if they are in ghost-estates – we simply don’t know where they are.

“But I would like that attention be drawn to the fact that they could be still out there,” he said.

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