Publish the Walsh Report: Adams
Sinn Féin president and Louth TD, Gerry Adams, has criticised the failure of the government to publish the second part of the report by Professor Oonagh Walsh into symphysiotomy.
Teachta Adams said: “In a response to a question from me in the Dáil on July 10th the Taoiseach confirmed that the Department of Health received the Walsh report at the end of May and it was provided to the Minister for Health on May 31st.
“We are now almost at the end of July and the report has still not been published and the government has yet to publish its recommendations. This is unacceptable.
“It also means that the Dáil will not have an opportunity to scrutinise or comment on the report or on the government’s decisions. There is a concern, which I share, that the delay has been deliberate.”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“Symphysiotomy was a barbaric and cruel practice used over many decades.
There were around 1500 symphysiotomies 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 process of securing justice for these women victims is very important.
“The government is adding to the stress on victims by failing to publish the Walsh Report and its own recommendations.
“The Walsh Report should be published now and 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.”