Dublin North TD Clare Daly today called upon the government to take immediate steps toward justice for the survivors of symphysiotomy in Ireland.
Speaking during leader’s questions the United Left Alliance TD spoke at length about the unique needs of the group and how further delays in the publication of the Walsh Report into the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland was indicative of the governments refusal to address the issue of justice for survivors which is now of immediate concern to victims of these operations which were performed without consent in a number of Irish maternity hospitals.
Asking Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to reconsider the governments handling of the matter in light of the recent death of Symphysiotomy survivor Mary Kerr, Clare Daly went on to highlight the pressing need for Health Minister James Reilly to speed up government action in light of the time available by which elderly survivors can move forward in obtaining justice for the wrongs they have suffered.
Refusing to compare the governments handling of the matter with the recent developments in the treatment by the government of Magdelane laundries survivors, Clare Daly added the cautionary note that the matter was not simply one of health, but one of justice. “This isn’t a comparison with Magdalene laundries, this is a question of gross negligence of medical treatment.”
Seeing the subject of the Walsh Report as a way of delaying effective action, Clare Daly stated that “There is no appropriate treatment for symphysiotomy. The damage that was done to these women was done decades ago. It cannot be undone. Many of them have had twenty five operations, some of them never left their homes.”
Mr Gilmore responded to questions and stressed that the Government was taking the issue seriously and that Health Minister James Reilly was examining the Walsh report. “I can give the assurance that this government is listening and will listen to [the victims]. This has been an issue of concern from the beginning and is raised from all sides of the house regularly. It is an issue of immediate concern.”
SOS Ireland has been campaigning against the findings of the draft Walsh Report into the practice of symphysiotomy and has repeated calls that elderly survivors be given access to compensation by the courts through the introduction of a bill which aims to give survivors a period of one year in which to bring claims for the effects of operations performed that had serious health repercussions for many of the two thousand patients operated upon by many Irish maternity hospitals.