Symphysiotomy redress scheme is a cold and callous pathetic effort – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has again raised the issue of the extremely short period to apply given to women under the terms of the symphysiotomy redress scheme.
Questioning the Minister for Health in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Caoláin stated;
“The symphysiotomy payment scheme is due to close in eight days' time, yet victims of Hepatitis C and the Residential Institutions had three years in which to apply for compensation. The redress scheme for the Magdalen women had no closing date for applications. However, in this instance, the survivors of symphysiotomy have been given an unprecedented period of 20 working days.
“It has been said that late applications will be considered but at the discretion of the assessor, Judge Maureen Harding Clark and within a further 20 day period. This is in marked contrast to the other instances I have cited and yet there are no appeals allowed.
“This redress scheme is a pathetic effort which is cold and callous. That is the view of a number of the women with whom I have spoken. It is designed to force acceptance of its terms by women who are already weary, who are aged, many of whom are in ill-health. They know that if they do not accept the Minister's terms their entitlements die with them. It is a shameful way to treat innocent women who have already been so cruelly treated.
“I urge that at the very least the Minister arranges for the extension of time of notice of application to present to a period of three years, in line with the other instances I have cited and not the insulting and outrageous 20 days that currently is the case. The scheme is set to close at the end of next week. I ask the Minister if he will act now.”
The Minister said that in exceptional circumstances Ms Justice Harding Clark has discretion to extend the time for receipt of applications by an additional 20 working days, which is up to 14 January 2015.
“In my opening contribution I instanced a number of possible situations that can arise where women may not be able to present to take up the offer of the terms of this redress scheme.
“Will the Minister please explain why he believes it is necessary to apply such a restrictive timeframe in this instance? Will he please, and I am asking sincerely, reconsider this particular element to allow more time?” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.