Press release: SOS Ireland protest the stalling of Bill before the Justice Comittee

SoS Bill stalled before Justice Committee


Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SoS) are holding a public demonstration this morning at 11.00 outside the Dail to protest against the delay in dealing with its Bill setting side the legal bar to justice for victims of this surgery. “Where is the new Republic for survivors of symphysiotomy?” asked SoS Chairperson, Marie O’Connor.

“The old one specialised in hiding acts of violation. We must allow victims to shine a light on the past, lest we deny them their humanity and compound the abuse that was perpetrated on them.”

“These were illegal operations, performed without consent, that breached women’s human rights in childbirth and led to a lifetime of ill health and suffering. Are we now to see those surviving women denied ready access to truth and justice?”

“State cover up has forced survivors – now in their 70s and 80s – to go the legal route.”

“”Notwithstanding the very strong support for this Bill on all sides of the House, and, indeed, within the Justice Committee itself, our Bill has not been tabled for discussion “, the SoS Chairperson pointed out.

Last year, the Justice Committee voted unanimously to lift the law on limitations for survivors of symphysiotomy. The Bill has been before them for two months.

“This is a brief Bill, effectively containing two sections, that could be dealt with very quickly. Our members want this through before the Dail rises in July. The alternative is to see this Bill on life support next autumn, choked by a raft of financial legislation.”

“We cannot understand why the Minister for Justice has not made himself available for a Bill that so closely mirrors his own 1998 Bill setting aside the legal bar to justice for victims of abuse in residential institutions. We are confident that the use of symphysiotomy in Irish hospitals will ultimately be recognised for what it was – institutional abuse, albeit of a medical character.”

“Many of the 38 Deputies who spoke at Second Stage stressed the need for the Bill’s speedy passage. We appeal to the Justice Committe to table it for discussion without delay, with or without the Minister.”

“There is a moral imperative here to ensure ready access to justice for these women. To deny these women speedy access to a legal remedy would be to compound the abuse they suffered in childbirth at the hands of doctors in whom they placed their trust.”

The Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Bill 2013 passed Second Stage on 17 April.


High resolution images may be obtained using the following links. No photocredit is required.

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Image of demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstrastion 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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SOS demonstration 25/06/2013

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