[Sinn Fein]

24th June 2003

Morgan welcomes Health Ministers commitment to meet Survivors of Symphysiotomy and calls for inquiry

Speaking in the Dáil this evening on the issue of Symphysiotomy Sinn Fein TD for Louth Arthur Morgan said he welcomed the commitment given by the Minister for Health, Micheal Martin, to meet with the group campaigning for an inquiry into the medical procedure that was carried out on women between the 1950s and 1980s. He said it as a positive move and he believed that the Minister had it within his power to ``initiate a solution''.

Deputy Morgan said: ``I commend the Minister on agreeing to meet the group. If he were to hear some of the cases of these women he would take steps to initiate a solution. What these women suffered is on a par with institutional abuse.

``Irrespective of what doors are opened through action taken, a small number of people are being asked to carry a very heavy load. This is grossly unfair and unjust.''

Explaining why it was necessary for an inquiry in to the practice Deputy Morgan said:

``The Minister has been advised that this practice ended around the 1960s. I assure him that it continued into the 1980s. This is where an investigation is needed. If the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists thought that this practice finished in the 1960s, who then is responsible for the brutality that carried over into the 1970s and even as late as 1983, when I understand three operations were carried out in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, and others at The Coombe Women's Hospital? As for the assertion that the results of these operations were very good, there are grounds for inquiry there too. If the Minister were to meet representatives of the group, he would know that the results were not very good.'' ENDS

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