Government to accept Bill for symphysiotomy redress

Wednesday 17 April 2013 10.40
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Symphysiotomy victims are delighted they may now seek redress through the courts
Symphysiotomy victims are delighted they may now seek redress through the courts
Around 200 women, who are now in their 70s and 80s, had the procedure
Around 200 women, who are now in their 70s and 80s, had the procedure

Minister for Health James Reilly has told the Dáil that the Government will not oppose a cross-party Private Members’ Bill on symphysiotomy.

The proposed legislation would allow women who had their pelvises unnecessarily broken during childbirth to seek redress through the courts.

The legislation was introduced in the Dáil by Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, who was the convenor of a cross-party group of TDs working on the issue.

The legislation proposed to set aside the Statute of Limitations for one year to allow victims to seek redress through the courts.

Survivors of Symphysiotomy gave a guarded welcome to Mr Reilly’s announcement that the Government would not oppose the second stage of the Bill.

Chairperson Marie O’Connor said: “It represents a modest victory for our members and their 10-year campaign, but this is a victory that needs to be built on”.

Symphysiotomy was a procedure carried out on mothers before or after labour.

The surgery increased the size of the pelvic area to allow easier delivery of a baby.

Around 200 women, who are now in their 70s and 80s, had the procedure.

As a result of the procedure, victims have suffered from incontinence, prolapsed organs, walking difficulties and chronic aches.

The Department of Health believes some work needs to be done on the drafting of the legislation.

It is not clear how long this process will take.

In the meantime, department sources indicated that work will continue on attempting to meet the needs of women affected by the procedure.

Keywords: symphysiotomy