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Symphysiotomy report must be published without delay - Adams

10 July, 2013 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams this morning urged the government to “make every effort to expedite the publication of the report by Professor Oonagh Walsh into symphysiotomy, and to release the government’s recommendations on how it intends to process this issue and bring justice to these women before the Dáil goes into recess.”

Teachta Adams urged the Taoiseach to provide for the victims and to create a process that will “allow the women victims to decide whether to avail of any redress scheme that the government might establish or to clear the way for them to take this issue to the courts.”

In his response to Teachta Adams the Taoiseach confirmed that the Department of Health received the report at the end of May and it was provided to the Minister for Health on May 31st.

The Taoiseach also confirmed that the minister will be bringing his analysis and recommendations to the cabinet very shortly and that he has agreed to meet the range of support groups active on this issue before the publication of the government’s recommendations.

Speaking after the Dáil debate Teachta Adams said:

“There were around 1500 symphysiotomy’s carried out in the state over several decades of which approximately 350 were undertaken in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda. Symphysiotomy amounted to institutional abuse and involved acts of butchery against women citizens.

“There are now only around 200 victims still surviving. They are all very elderly and carry deep physical and emotional scars from their experience. Some are quite frail. They simply cannot afford to wait months or years for justice.

“Time is therefore of the essence.

“All of these women have the support of all parties in the Oireachtas and in April the government supported the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Bill 2013, introduced by Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD, which seeks to accommodate access to the courts for all victims of symphysiotomy who would choose that course of action.

“The government must now make every effort to expedite the publication of the report by Professor Oonagh Walsh into symphysiotomy.

“It should also release the government’s recommendations on how it intends to process this issue and bring justice to these women before the Dáil goes into recess.

“The process of securing justice for these women victims is very important. The government should create a process that will allow the women victims to decide whether to avail of any redress scheme that the government might establish or to clear the way for them to take this issue to the courts.”

ENDS

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