Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today raised the government’s decision to go ahead with a redress scheme for the victims of symphysiotomy with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Speaking afterward Gerry Adams said, “The redress scheme falls short of what is necessary to deal with this hugely difficult and traumatic issue for the 230 surviving victims.”
“There has been an unnecessary and inexcusable delay by the government in publishing the Walsh and the Murphy reports into symphysiotomy, and producing the redress scheme it announced today.
“This has been a source of great frustration and upset to victims.
“Some victims will welcome the redress scheme. It is for them an opportunity to secure some financial compensation for the pain and hurt which they have endured as a result of the barbaric practice of symphysiotomy.
“It is regrettable that the government has linked this to an ex-gratia payment. This is a device to get the government off the legal hook of accepting responsibility for something the state could and should have prevented.
“I don’t believe that the government’s alleged reason for this – to relieve the survivors ‘of the burden of pursuing their case through the court’ – stands up to scrutiny. This is the government trying to close down an issue in a way that will be unacceptable to many of the victims.
“The government’s proposal also places the onus on the women who suffered this procedure to prove this in order to secure the higher payment.
“Many of the victims will be angry and unhappy at the government’s refusal to lift the statute of limitations and thus allow victims the right to choose which course of action they wish to take for closure. It denies victims who wish to go down the legal route their day in court.
“I share that disappointment. Victims should have the right to pursue their case through the courts.”
The Sinn Féin leader added:
“Symphysiotomy amounts to institutional abuse. It involves acts of butchery against women citizens. The state cannot absolve itself of responsibility for what occurred because of the undue influence of a conservative, religious fundamentalism.
“I have spoken to many survivors over the years. They have frequently given public testimony of their harrowing experiences.
“The 230 or so survivors of symphysiotomy are mainly elderly and frail citizens who carry the physical and emotional scars of this practice. They have all suffered long term ill-health and disability as a consequence of what was done to them.”