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Seán Crowe TD Criticises Government over Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme Failures

28 November, 2014 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has criticised the Government’s failures with the new Symphysiotomy Payment and Redress Scheme after raising the matter under Topical Issues in the Dáil with his colleague Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD.

Crowe, a member of the all party Committee on the issue, criticised the Government over the short time frame in which women can apply for redress and the barriers to a person with limited financial means being able to access the required specialist medical reports.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The Government’s Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme is wrought with failures and the Government’s refusal to review them is cold and callous.

“The survivors of symphysiotomy underwent a process that butchered their bodies as a result of the twisted theory that women could continue to have baby after baby, year after year, with the connivance of a medical profession and the acquiescence of the State.

“These women have fought and waited for years for a redress scheme to be established, the remaining survivors are elderly women, and yet they were only given 20 days in which to apply to the scheme.

“In comparison the survivors of the contaminated hepatitis C transfusions and the victims of abuse in residential institutions had three years in which to apply for compensation.

“Many women gave a sigh of relief when the scheme was announced. However, the short time period for making application is a huge concern, especially with the requirement to provide specialist medical reports. Only medical consultants will give these reports and state-appointed doctors will not. The scheme will not pay for independent medical reports so this is an attack on less well-off women.

“How will a woman with limited financial means access specialist medical reports in a few days without handing out vast sums of money?”

Crowe continued:

“Also contrary to the UN human rights committee recommendation the scheme offers no individualised assessment options or any right of appeal.

“Although this has never been about the money, the assessor is also giving the impression that most of the women will receive €100,000, but nothing could be further from the truth. The way the scheme is set out, 96% of the survivors, if they apply, will possibly receive €50,000 for a lifelong disability.

“I am calling on the Minister for Health to lift these very restrictive clauses from the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme. The narrow parameters of the scheme will further compound the hurt and insult many people feel.”

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