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Adams urges government to scrap symphysiotomy redress deadline as date draws close

3 December, 2014 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to “scrap the arbitrary December 5th deadline it has imposed on elderly victims of symphysiotomy who wish to apply to the Surgical Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme.”

Gerry Adams said:

“Symphysiotomy was a dreadful practice carried out in hospitals over several decades on hundreds of women. The outcome for many of the women was years of serious and disabling pain, incontinence and difficulty walking.

“This and previous governments has mishandled the symphysiotomy issue for years. They have failed to demonstrate any real compassion toward increasingly frail and elderly women.

“In July the United Nations Human Rights Committee told the Irish government that it should open a ‘prompt, independent and thorough investigation’ into symphysiotomy. And it clearly called on the government to do more than its current redress scheme to ensure that victims have an ‘effective remedy.’

“This included the right of victims to be allowed to launch a legal challenge to the amounts of compensation the government is offering.

“In typical fashion this government has arrogantly ignored the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

“It has refused to lift the statute of limitations to facilitate many victims taking their cases to the courts.

“And it has produced a redress scheme that the majority of victims have criticised – not least because they have no right to appeal any decision taken by the assessor Judge Maureen Harding Clark.

“Regrettably the government’s callous approach ignores the reality that many of these victims are very elderly, and that the years of delay by this and previous governments has already seen many of the women die.

“The government should now amend its redress scheme to allow for victims to apply to it for at least a period of three years – in line with the treatment of victims of Hepatitis C and the Residential Institutions.”

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