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RCSI reputation severely damaged – MacLochlainn

16 February, 2012 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn has criticised what he described as weak words from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) on the situation in Bahrain.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn, speaking after a meeting the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, said the RCSI’s reputation is severely damaged as a result of its contribution to the meeting.

Deputy MacLochlainn said:

“Although I appreciate the organisation appearing before the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee, which was a request I had put to the committee I am not at all satisfied with Professor Cathal Kelly’s response that the situation in Bahrain is ‘complex’ and therefore the organisation must restrain from public commentary. There is nothing complex about torture, arrest and detention without the right to due process.

“Professor Kelly said that their silence was based on a desire to remain non-partisan or non-aligned. I do not accept this. When your own former students have been detained, have suffered both extreme physical and psychological abuse, to stay silent in order to preserve one's own interests in the region is indefensible.

“Although Professor Kelly expressed general regret about the Bahraini situation overall, he refused to stand side by side with his sister organisation, the Royal College of Surgeons England, in its unambiguous condemnation of Bahrain’s handling of the events and of the medical personnel caught up in the events.

“I also highlighted with the panel from RCSI yesterday that International Organisations such as Human Right Watch, Médecins Sans Frontières, Physicians for Human Rights and Amnesty International have all unequivocally condemned the Bahraini Government’s actions over the past year.

“Today there are protestors on the streets of Bahrain seeking genuine democracy and the protection of human rights. These are legitimate protests and must not be repressed by violence or any means. If the Bahraini regime repeats the tactics of a year ago I would expect that the RCSI would not be found wanting this time.” ENDS

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